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Rajan Kumar

Founder at HackersFriend Updated Dec. 2, 2019, 12:46 a.m. ⋅ 1060 views

C++ Hacks for Competitive programming

There are lot of C++ Hacks you can use to save time in competitive programming. Here are few of them.

  • Getting rid of “includes”: Just use
    #include <bits/stdc++.h>
  • Useful inbuilt functions:
    • __gcd(a, b): Returns the GCD of a and b
    • __builtin_popcount(x) : Returns the number of set bits in x
  • Initializer Lists: These make STL containers easy to initialize, for eg:
    • vector<int> odd_nos = {1, 3, 5, 7, 9};
    • pair<int, string> p = {1, “Hi”}; //Equiv. to p=make_pair(1, "Hi")
    • map<int, string> m = { {1, “This”}, {2, “is”}, {3, “awesome”} };
  • Finding min and max of multiple variables:
//Long Way:
int max_of_3 = max(a, max(b, c));
int max_of_4 = max(max(a, b), max(c, d));
//Easier Way - Can be extended to any number of variables:
int max_of_3 = max({a, b, c});
int max_of_4 = max({a, b, c, d});


  • Range-based for loops: Makes it much simpler to iterate through containers.
//Old Way:
for(auto it=container.begin(), it!=container.end(); it++)
	cout<<*it<<" ";
for(int i=0;i<container.size();i++) //If the container is a vector
	cout<<container[i]<<" ";
//Easier Way:
for(auto &it:container) //Using & also allows us to modify the elements
	cout<<it<<" ";


  • Tie and Swap:
    • Tie makes it easier to initialize multiple variables in a single line
    • Swap enables swapping of variables, and even containers with a single statement
//Initializes a with -1, b with 1, etc
 tie(a, b, c, d) = make_tuple(-1, 1, -2, 2);

//x, y can be two integers, or two vectors, or any two containers
swap(x, y);
  • Macros:
    • If you are tired of typing some statement like push_back again and again, you can just use #define pb push_back , and type pb in your code.
    • Getting the name of the argument in macro using #, and using it to debug your program:
#define trace(x) cerr<<#x<<": "<<x<<" "<<endl;
int main()
	int a=5;
	trace(a); //prints: "a: 5" to stderr stream 
  • Variadic Function Templates:
  • C++ allows templates with variable number of arguments. If you are tired of writing trace1, trace2, trace3, etc for different number of variables you want to print in a line, then you can read about Variadic Functions Templates here.
  • Code for debugging variable number of parameters: Here.

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