# Interesting XOR property — Finding unique number in an array

Published on February 18, 2023 · Updated on February 18, 2023

Recently, while learning about the XOR operation, I came across an interesting property of XOR operation. The property is as follows:

XOR of a number with itself cancels out the number

For example, if we take the number `5` and XOR it with itself, we get `0` as the result. That is `5 ^ 5 = 0`.

5 ^ 5 = 0
0101
0101
0000

Try changing the input fields 😉

If you are confused how the above operation works, you can check out the truth table below:

ABA XOR B
110
101
011
000

### Problem Statement

If you have been given a array `arr = [1, 2, 3, 11, 1, 2, 3]` then find the unique number. Note then all the numbers are repeated twice and a unique is only available once in the given array. Note that the array is not sorted and the numbers are not in any particular order.

### Solution

If we XOR each element in the array with each other then the duplicates would be canceled out giving us the remaining unique number. See the below code in Python.

``````>>> arr = [1, 2, 3, 11, 1, 2, 3]
>>> unique = 0
>>> for num in arr:
...     unique ^= num
...
>>> unique
11``````

This is the efficient solution to the problem. The time complexity of the solution is `O(n)` and the space complexity is `O(1)`.

### Code

I’ve written the code in multiple languages. You can check out the code below:

##### C/C++
``````#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
int arr[] = {1, 2, 3, 11, 1, 2, 3};
int unique = 0;
for (int i = 0; i < 7; i++) {
unique ^= arr[i];
}
printf("%d\n", unique);
return 0;
}``````
##### Java
``````public class Main {
public static void main(String[] args) {
int[] arr = {1, 2, 3, 11, 1, 2, 3};
int unique = 0;
for (int i = 0; i < arr.length; i++) {
unique ^= arr[i];
}
System.out.println(unique);
}
}``````
##### Python
``````arr = [1, 2, 3, 11, 1, 2, 3]
unique = 0
for num in arr:
unique ^= num
print(unique)``````
##### JavaScript
``````const arr = [1, 2, 3, 11, 1, 2, 3];
let unique = 0;
for (let i = 0; i < arr.length; i++) {
unique ^= arr[i];
}
console.log(unique);``````