11.9. 11.9 Counting Bits

The last example in the previous section demonstrates a specific case of a very general problem: counting bits. Unfortunately, that example has a severe limitation: It only counts a single run of one bits appearing in the source operand. This section discusses a more general solution to this problem.

Hardly a week goes by that someone doesn't ask how to count the number of bits in a register operand on one of the Internet newsgroups. This is a common request, undoubtedly, because many assembly language course instructors assign this task a project to their students as a way to teach them about the shift and rotate instructions. Undoubtedly, the solution these instructors expect is something like the following:

// BitCount1: ...

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