You are given an array with $N$ elements. The values of the elements may be any number in the interval $[0,10^9]$. Define $f(a,b)$ as the bitwise or of all the values in the subarray $[a,b]$. Find a bound on the number of distinct values of $f(a,b)$.

Attempts: I have tried to brute force cases to find a pattern but was unsuccessful.

Please explain the reasoning behind your answer. I am a complete beginner.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you think of any bound? Do you understand the question? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I originally thought the bound would be N(N+1)/2. Apparently that wasn't a very good bound. I did get a hint to think about the number of bits that may change in a number when bitwise OR'd, but I don't know what to do with it. $\endgroup$
    – Mainak Roy
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ This bound is actually tight for $N<30$, roughly. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 5:42
  • $\begingroup$ Another simple bound is $2^{30}$, which is also tight. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ Can you credit the original source of this problem? Make sure to provide proper credit any time you copy material from another source. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 6:59

1 Answer 1


Notice that the max value here given is 1e9. Therefore at most log(1e9) bits can be there. Suppose we fix an 'a' and iterate over 'b' such that b>=a. Thus this will form a monotonic function as bitwise OR can only increase the value of the initial operands. Moreover the OR operation can only turn a bit ON from OFF and not the other way round. So whenever the values increases that means a new bit has to be set ON. However for a fixed value of 'a' we can only turn on at most log(1e9) bits. Hence when we iterate over 'a' we can have a maximum bound of O(n)O(log(1e9)) distinct values. Hence the bound is O(nlog(MAX_VALUE))


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