# Proving correctness of an AVL-Tree colouring algorithm

I came up with the following recursive algorithm to colour the nodes of an AVL tree so that the resulting tree is red-black. The logic is that the algorithm first colours the root and, recursively, the left and right subtrees black. Since it is an AVL tree, if the root has height h, one path to a leaf takes distance h, and another is h-1. If h is odd the two subtrees from the root have heights h-1 (even) and h-2 (odd), with the even subtree having an extra black node, hence to be coloured red.

(pseudocode)
colour_tree(root(T)):
r <- root(T)
if r = null:
return
colour(r) = "black"

colour_tree(right(r))
colour_tree(left(r))

if isodd(height(r)):
if right(r) != null and iseven(right(r)):
colour(right(r)) = "red"
if left(r) != null and iseven(left(r)):
colour(left(r)) = "red"


I am having trouble starting on a proof of correctness for this algorithm. I know that for any tree with height h, there are at least $\lceil (h+1)/2 \rceil$ blacknodes, and intuitively it seems like I'd have to perform induction on the height, but I am not sure where to start. Thanks.

• 1. A good starting point would be: what makes you think it is correct? 2. Can you identify an invariant that would imply it is correct? If so, you could try to prove the invariant by induction. – D.W. Sep 25 '14 at 5:44