Extended Euclid Algorithm to find GCD and Bézout's coefficients
We will see how to use Extended Euclid's Algorithm to find GCD of two numbers. It also gives us Bézout's coefficients (x, y) such that ax + by = gcd(a, b). We will discuss and implement all of the above problems in Python and C++
February 4, 2017

8 minute read

Table of Contents
What is Euclid’s Algorithm?
Euclid’s Algorithm is an efficient method to find GCD of two numbers. In one of the previous posts, we discussed how to find GCD of two numbers using Euclid’s Algorithm .
A simple C++ code to find GCD using Euclid’s Algorithm is as follows:
int gcd ( int a , int b ) {
int temp ;
while ( b > 0 ) {
temp = b ;
b = a % b ;
a = temp ;
}
return a ;
}
What is Extended Euclid’s Algorithm?
As the name suggests, Extended Euclid’s Algorithm is an extension of Euclid’s Algorithm to find GCD of two numbers. Along with GCD of two numbers, say a
and b
, it also finds x
and y
such that ax + by = gcd(a, b)
. Here, x
and y
are known as Bézout’s coefficients.
But why should we learn Extended Euclid’s Algorithm if we can find GCD of two numbers using simple Euclid’s Algorithm? Extended Euclid’s Algorithm^{1} is particularly useful when we have to find Modular Multiplicative Inverse of a number A in the range M , where A and M are coprime numbers and M is not necessarily a prime number. If M is a prime number then there’s a very easy method to find Multiplicative Inverse using Fast Power Algorithm .
Python Code to find GCD using Extended Euclid’s Algorithm
def extended_euclid_gcd ( a , b ):
"""
Returns a list `result` of size 3 where:
Referring to the equation ax + by = gcd(a, b)
result[0] is gcd(a, b)
result[1] is x
result[2] is y
"""
s = 0 ; old_s = 1
t = 1 ; old_t = 0
r = b ; old_r = a
while r != 0 :
quotient = old_r / r
# This is a pythonic way to swap numbers
# See the same part in C++ implementation below to know more
old_r , r = r , old_r  quotient * r
old_s , s = s , old_s  quotient * s
old_t , t = t , old_t  quotient * t
return [ old_r , old_s , old_t ]
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 24 , 18 )
print 'GCD of 24 and 18 is % d. x = % d and y = % d in 24x + 18y = gcd(24, 18)' % ( res [ 0 ], res [ 1 ], res [ 2 ])
# Output: GCD of 24 and 18 is 6. x = 1 and y = 1 in 24x + 18y = gcd(24, 18)
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 54 , 36 )
print 'GCD of 54 and 36 is % d. x = % d and y = % d in 54x + 36y = gcd(54, 36)' % ( res [ 0 ], res [ 1 ], res [ 2 ])
# Output: GCD of 54 and 36 is 18. x = 1 and y = 1 in 54x + 36y = gcd(54, 36)
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 120 , 428860 )
print 'GCD of 120 and 428860 is % d. x = % d and y = % d in 120x + 428860y = gcd(120, 428860)' % ( res [ 0 ], res [ 1 ], res [ 2 ])
# Output: GCD of 120 and 428860 is 20. x = 3574 and y = 1 in 120x + 428860y = gcd(120, 428860)
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 95642 , 1681 )
print 'GCD of 95642 and 1681 is % d. x = % d and y = % d in 95642x + 1681y = gcd(95642, 1681)' % ( res [ 0 ], res [ 1 ], res [ 2 ])
# Output: GCD of 95642 and 1681 is 1. x = 682 and y = 38803 in 95642x + 1681y = gcd(95642, 1681)
C++ Code to find GCD using Extended Euclid’s Algorithm
#include <iostream>
#include <vector>
using namespace std ;
vector < long long > extended_euclid_gcd ( long long a , long long b ) {
// Returns a vector `result` of size 3 where:
// Referring to the equation ax + by = gcd(a, b)
// result[0] is gcd(a, b)
// result[1] is x
// result[2] is y
long long s = 0 ; long long old_s = 1 ;
long long t = 1 ; long long old_t = 0 ;
long long r = b ; long long old_r = a ;
while ( r != 0 ) {
long long quotient = old_r / r ;
// We are overriding the value of r, before that we store it"s current
// value in temp variable, later we assign it to old_r
long long temp = r ;
r = old_r  quotient * r ;
old_r = temp ;
// We treat s and t in the same manner we treated r
temp = s ;
s = old_s  quotient * s ;
old_s = temp ;
temp = t ;
t = old_t  quotient * t ;
old_t = temp ;
}
vector < long long > result ;
result . push_back ( old_r );
result . push_back ( old_s );
result . push_back ( old_t );
return result ;
}
int main () {
vector < long long > res ;
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 24 , 18 );
cout << "GCD of 24 and 18 is " << res [ 0 ] << ". x = " << res [ 1 ] << " and y = " << res [ 2 ] << " in 24x + 18y = gcd(24, 18)" << endl ;
// Output: GCD of 24 and 18 is 6. x = 1 and y = 1 in 24x + 18y = gcd(24, 18)
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 54 , 36 );
cout << "GCD of 54 and 36 is " << res [ 0 ] << ". x = " << res [ 1 ] << " and y = " << res [ 2 ] << " in 54x + 36y = gcd(54, 36)" << endl ;
// Output: GCD of 54 and 36 is 18. x = 1 and y = 1 in 54x + 36y = gcd(54, 36)
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 120 , 428860 );
cout << "GCD of 120 and 428860 is " << res [ 0 ] << ". x = " << res [ 1 ] << " and y = " << res [ 2 ] << " in 120x + 428860y = gcd(120, 428860)" << endl ;
// Output: GCD of 120 and 428860 is 20. x = 3574 and y = 1 in 120x + 428860y = gcd(120, 428860)
res = extended_euclid_gcd ( 95642 , 1681 );
cout << "GCD of 95642 and 1681 is " << res [ 0 ] << ". x = " << res [ 1 ] << " and y = " << res [ 2 ] << " in 95642x + 1681y = gcd(95642, 1681)" << endl ;
// Output: GCD of 95642 and 1681 is 1. x = 682 and y = 38803 in 95642x + 1681y = gcd(95642, 1681)
return 0 ;
}
Simulation of one of the sample test cases 95642 and 1681:
quotient
remainder
s
t
95642/1681 = 56
95642  56*1681 = 1506
1  56*0 = 1
0  56*1 = 56
1681/1506 = 1
1681  1*1506 = 175
0  1*1 = 1
1  1*56 = 57
1506/175 = 8
1506  8*175 = 106
1  8*1 = 9
56  8*57 = 512
175/106 = 1
175  1*106 = 69
1  1*9 = 10
57  1*512 = 569
106/69 = 1
106  1*69 = 37
9  1*10 = 19
512  1*569 = 1081
69/37 = 1
69  1*37 = 32
10  1*19 = 29
569  1*1081 = 1650
37/32 = 1
37  1*32 = 5
19  1*29 = 48
1081  1*1650 = 2731
32/5 = 6
32  6*5 = 2
29  6*48 = 317
1650  6*2731 = 18036
5/2 = 2
5  2*2 = 1
48  2*317 = 682
2731  2*18036 = 38803
2/1 = 2
2  2*1 = 0
317  2*682 = 1681
18036  2*38803 = 95642
References:
[1] : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Euclidean_algorithm
Got a burning question you wanna get answered? Ask it in the comments.