how to work with strings and integers like python bit strings?

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I'm developing a Genetic Algorithm in python were chromosomes are composed of strings and integers. To apply the genetic operations, I want to convert these groups of integers and strings into bit strings.

For example, if one chromosome is:

["Hello", 4, "anotherString"]

I'd like it to become something like:

0100100100101001010011110011

(this is not actual translation). So... How can I do this? Chromosomes will contain the same amount of strings and integers, but this numbers can vary from one algorithm run to another.

To be clear, what I want to obtain is the bit representation of each element in the chromosome concatenated.

If you think this would not be the best way to apply genetic operators (such as mutation and simple crossover) just tell me! I'm open to new ideas.

Thanks a lot! Manuel


You can turn strings and integers into bytestrings (and back) with the struct module, and that's exactly 8 bits to a byte. If for some reason you want these binary bytestrings as text strings made up of 0 and 1 characters, you can print them in binary form, of course.

Edit: forgot to remind you how to format a byte into a text string made up of 0 and 1 characters -- in Python 2.6 or better:

>>> format(23, '08b')
'00010111'

and to get back from such a string to a byte, of course:

>>> int('00010111', 2)
23