Modulo 2 Arithmetic


These notes describe how to go about modulo 2 addition, subtraction and division.

Modulo 2 Arithmetic

Modulo 2 arithmetic is performed digit by digit on binary numbers. Each digit is considered independently from its neighbours. Numbers are not carried or borrowed.


Modulo 2 addition is performed using an exclusive OR (xor) operation on the corresponding binary digits of each operand. The following table describes the xor operation:

    A  B  A xor B
    0  0     0
    0  1     1
    1  0     1
    1  1     0

We can add two binary numbers, X and Y as follows:

    (X) 10110100
    (Y) 00101010 +
    (Z) 10011110


Modulo 2 subtraction provides the same results as addition. This can be illustrated by adding the numbers X and Z from the addition example.

    (X) 10110100
    (Z) 10011110 -
    (Y) 00101010

The addition example shows us that X + Y = Z so Y = Z - X.

However, the subtraction example shows us that Y = Z + X.

As neither Z nor X is zero, the addition and subtraction operators must behave in the same way.


Modulo 2 division can be performed in a manner similar to arithmetic long division. Subtract the denominator (the bottom number) from the leading parts of the enumerator (the top number). Proceed along the enumerator until its end is reached. Remember that we are using modulo 2 subtraction. For example, we can divide 100100111 by 10011 as follows:

             10001 remainder 100

This has the effect that X/Y = Y/X. For example:

             1 remainder 1011

             1 remainder 1011


  • A.S. Tanenbaum (1996). Computer Networks. Prentice Hall ISBN 0-13-394248-1. See section 3.2.2.

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Comments 13 comments

felixdolot3 6 years ago

this is very helpful

vick 6 years ago

nice work, unrelated question though

what is an inverse randomizer in cryptography

Jesinth 5 years ago

Thank You Booster911. Very Useful

hassan 5 years ago


arfname 5 years ago

Thank you =)

gul khan 4 years ago

thanks mate. appreciated:))

Ogi 4 years ago

Addition is wrong!

(X) 10110100

(Y) 00101010 +

(Z) 10011110 -wrong

(Z) 11011110 -correct

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Booster911 4 years ago from UK Author


Your example performs a Binary Addition. The example I give is of Modulo 2 Addition. As the article says, Modulo 2 Addition performs the XOR operation on each column, no carry is performed.

I hope this helps.

Goht 4 years ago

Thanks! =D

Alphonce 3 years ago


Raj 3 years ago

Thanks explained very well

Debrah 2 years ago

Your answer was just what I neeedd. It's made my day!

Shim 2 years ago

How about modulo 2 multiplication?

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