I am trying to find the Gesalt similarity of a string $S$ and all substrings of $T$ using Gestalt Pattern Matching (Ratcliff Obershelp Algorithm)

This algorithm requires me to find the matches of S and T which is defined as follows

$$ matches(S,T) = \begin{cases} matches(S1,T1) + [LCS(S,T)] + matches(S1,T2)&\text{if } LCS(S,T) \neq \epsilon\\ [] &\text{if } LCS(S,T) = \epsilon\\ \end{cases} $$ where

$LCS(S,T)$ is the longest common substring of $S$ and $T$

$S = S1 + LCS(S,T) + S2$


$T = T1 + LCS(S,T) + T2$

Informally, matches are calculated by finding $LCS(S,T)$ and then by recursively finding matches on the left and right of $LCS(S,T)$

The similairty ratio is defined as $$ sim(S,T) = \begin{cases} \frac{2 * K}{length(S) + length(T)}&\text{if }length(S) + length(T) \neq 0\\ 1 &\text{otherwise} \end{cases} $$

where $K$ is the sum of the length of all matches


$S$ = "Altanta" $T$ = "Atlantis"

$$ \begin{equation*} \begin{split} matches(S,T) &= matches(\text{'Alt', 'Atl'}) + [\text{'ant'}] + matches(\text{'a', 'is'}) \\ &= matches(\text{'Alt', 'Atl'}) + [\text{'ant'}] + [] \\ &= matches(\text{'Alt', 'Atl'}) + [\text{'ant'}] \\ &= (matches(\epsilon, \epsilon) + [\text{'A'}] + matches(\text{'lt', 'tl'})) + [\text{'ant'}] \\ &= [] + [\text{'A'}] + matches(\text{'lt', 'tl'})) + [\text{'ant'}] \\ &= [\text{'A'}] + matches(\text{'lt', 'tl'})) + [\text{'ant'}] \\ &= [\text{'A'}] + (matches(\epsilon,\text{'t'}) + [\text{'l'}] +matches(\text{'t'},\epsilon)) + [\text{'ant'}] \\ &= [\text{'A'}] + [] + [\text{'l'}] + [] + [\text{'ant'}] \\ &= [\text{'A'}, \text{'l'} ,\text{'ant'}] \\ \end{split} \end{equation*} $$

Thus $K= length(\text{'A'}) + length(\text{'l'}) + length(\text{'ant'}) = 5$


$$ sim(S,T) = \frac{2*K}{length(S) + length(T)} = \frac{2 * 5}{7 + 8} = 0.666... $$

Now, I want to be able to find the similarity for $S$ and all substrings of $T$

Eg. $sim(\text{'Altanta'}, \text{'Alta'})$, $sim(\text{'Altanta'}, \text{'lantis'})$, e.t.c.

But to calculate these pairs efficiently I believe that I'll need to be able to quickly find the matches of $S$ and substrings of $T$, which in turn means that I'll need to be able to find $LCS(S',T')$ for all $S'$ and $T'$ where $S$' is substring of $S$ and $T'$ is a substring of $T$.

How can I efficiently find $LCS(S',T')$ for all $S'$ and $T'$ where $S$' is a substring of $S$ and $T'$ is a substring of $T$?

I went through Dynamic and Internal Longest Common substring which looked promising at first but only explained algorithms for constrainted cases.

  • $\begingroup$ You can build a sufix tree for one of the strings and query the subset of the other. But for constant number of queries I would go for KMP. Some simpler options would be suffix array and trie (with worse time complexity). $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @NarekBojikian. Yes I would like to find the output for all possible substrings. Could you give me a high level overview about building a suffix tree and querying the other? $\endgroup$
    – Daigo
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


I'll throw a naive algorithm out there.

One way would be to create a hash set of all possible substrings from your first input. Then check if each possible substring from the second input is in that hash set.

Time complexity: $O(N_1^2 + N_2^2)$

Memory usage: $O(min(N_1^2, N_2^2))$ (use shortest input as first input)

You can all so break the problem down in common substrings of length 1, then length 2, then length 3, etc. While clearing and reusing the hash set between each length change. That will help lower the memory usage.

  • $\begingroup$ Using a rolling hash will help reduce the running time to create the hash set, too. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ Also a construction of a suffix tree takes $O(n)$ according to Wikipedia. Could be good substitution for hash set. Will research rolling hash. $\endgroup$
    – clinux
    Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 7:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.