missing 'xor' Boolean operator

Miles Kaufmann milesck at umich.edu
Wed Jul 15 01:08:42 EDT 2009

On Jul 15, 2009, at 12:07 AM, Dr. Phillip M. Feldman wrote:

> I appreciate the effort that people have made, but I'm not impressed  
> with any
> of the answers.  For one thing, xor should be able to accept an  
> arbitrary
> number of input arguments (not just two)

You originally proposed this in the context of the existing short- 
circuit boolean operators.  Those operators (being infix) take only  
two operands.

> and should return True if and only
> if the number of input arguments that evaluate to True is odd

The existing and/or operators always return the value of one of the  
operands--not necessarily True or False--which is another important  
property, but one that can't be translated fully to xor.  Given the  
lack of context in your original post, hopefully you'll forgive me  
being unimpressed by your not being impressed. :)

> Here's my code:
> def xor(*args):
>   """xor accepts an arbitrary number of input arguments, returning  
> True
>   if and only if bool() evaluates to True for an odd number of the  
> input
>   arguments."""
>   result= False
>   for arg in args:
>      if bool(arg): result= not result
>   return result

If all you want is a True or False result, I'd write it like this:

import operator
def xor(*args):
     return reduce(operator.xor, map(bool, args)) # or imap

In order to make it act more like the other logical operators, I'd use  
MRAB's 2-argument xor as the reducer--though I can't really see the  

def xor2(a, b):
     return (not b and a) or (not a and b)

def xor(*args):
     return reduce(xor2, args)

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