Integer Minimum or Maximum

Given 2’s complement integer values x and y, the minimum can be computed without any branches as x+(((y-x)>>(WORDBITS-1))&(y-x)). Logically, this works because the shift by (WORDBITS-1) replicates the sign bit to create a mask — be aware, however, that the C language does not require that shifts are signed even if their operands are signed, so there is a potential portability problem. Additionally, one might think that a shift by any number greater than or equal to WORDBITS would have the same effect, but many instruction sets have shifts that behave strangely when such shift distances are specified.

Of course, maximum can be computed using the same trick: x-(((x-y)>>(WORDBITS-1))&(x-y)).

[Listening to: Queen Bitch (live) – David Bowie – RarestOneBowie (3:15)]