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# What is Hamming Distance?

## Hamming Distance

Hamming distance is a metric for comparing two binary data strings. While comparing two binary strings of equal length, Hamming distance is the number of bit positions in which the two bits are different.

The Hamming distance between two strings, a and b is denoted as d(a,b).

It is used for error detection or error correction when data is transmitted over computer networks. It is also using in coding theory for comparing equal length data words.

## Calculation of Hamming Distance

In order to calculate the Hamming distance between two strings, and , we perform their XOR operation, (a⊕ b), and then count the total number of 1s in the resultant string.

### Example

Suppose there are two strings 1101 1001 and 1001 1101.

11011001 ⊕ 10011101 = 01000100. Since, this contains two 1s, the Hamming distance, d(11011001, 10011101) = 2.

## Minimum Hamming Distance

In a set of strings of equal lengths, the minimum Hamming distance is the smallest Hamming distance between all possible pairs of strings in that set.

### Example

Suppose there are four strings 010, 011, 101 and 111.

010 ⊕ 011 = 001, d(010, 011) = 1.

010 ⊕ 101 = 111, d(010, 101) = 3.

010 ⊕ 111 = 101, d(010, 111) = 2.

011 ⊕ 101 = 110, d(011, 101) = 2.

011 ⊕ 111 = 100, d(011, 111) = 1.

101 ⊕ 111 = 010, d(011, 111) = 1.

Hence, the Minimum Hamming Distance, *d _{min}* = 1.

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