# Questions tagged [efficiency]

Using as few resources (e.g. time, space) as possible while solving a problem. Use this tag if your question is specifically about resource usage, not for generic algorithm questions that happen to mention running times.

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### Dealing with intractability: NP-complete problems

Assume that I am a programmer and I have an NP-complete problem that I need to solve it. What methods are available to deal with NPC problems? Is there a survey or something similar on this topic?
7k views

### Why polynomial time is called “efficient”?

Why in computer science any complexity which is at most polynomial is considered efficient? For any practical application(a), algorithms with complexity $n^{\log n}$ are way faster than algorithms ...
14k views

### When can I use dynamic programming to reduce the time complexity of my recursive algorithm?

Dynamic programming can reduce the time needed to perform a recursive algorithm. I know that dynamic programming can help reduce the time complexity of algorithms. Are the general conditions such that ...
4k views

### Efficient map data structure supporting approximate lookup

I'm looking for a data structure that supports efficient approximate lookups of keys (e.g., Levenshtein distance for strings), returning the closest possible match for the input key. The best suited ...
12k views

### Retrieving the shortest path of a dynamic graph

I'm studying shortest paths in directed graphs currently. There are many efficient algorithms for finding the shortest path in a network, like dijkstra's or bellman-ford's. But what if the graph is ...
52k views

### How can a language whose compiler is written in C ever be faster than C?

Taking a look at Julia's webpage, you can see some benchmarks of several languages across several algorithms (timings shown below). How can a language with a compiler originally written in C, ...
718 views

### How can I generate first n elements of the sequence 3^i * 5^j * 7^k?

How can I efficiently generate the first N elements of the sequence $3^i 5^j 7^k$, where $i,j,k \in \mathbb{N}$? I've googled around a bit and found the sequence in OEIS, but I don't really see a ...
2k views

### Looking for a set implementation with small memory footprint

I am looking for implementation of the set data type. That is, we have to maintain a dynamic subset $S$ (of size $n$) from the universe $U = \{0, 1, 2, 3, \dots , u – 1\}$ of size $u$ with operations ...
812 views

### Finding the two largest of five small integers as quickly as possible

I use a variation of a 5-cross median filter on image data on a small embedded system, i.e. x x x x x The algorithm is really simple: read 5 unsigned ...
11k views

### Are all context-free and regular languages efficiently decidable?

I came across this figure which shows that context-free and regular languages are (proper) subsets of efficient problems (supposedly $\mathrm{P}$). I perfectly understand that efficient problems are a ...
4k views

### Dynamic programming with large number of subproblems

Dynamic programming with large number of subproblems. So I'm trying to solve this problem from Interview Street: Grid Walking (Score 50 points) You are situated in an $N$-dimensional grid at ...
17k views

### Which data structure to use for accessing min/max in constant-time?

I need a data structure which can include millions of elements, minimum and maximum must be accesable in constant time and inserting and erasing element time complexity must be better than linear.
675 views

### Can a Minimum Possible Efficiency be proven?

Given a problem, is it possible to prove what the best worst-case efficiency of an algorithm to solve this problem would be? For example, lets take the problem of sorting an array. Many of the ...
657 views

### Efficient flood filling (seed filling)

I am referring to the algorithm that fills a white area of arbitrary shape in a binary digital image, starting from a given white pixel, using the Moore (8 neighbors) or Neumann (4 neighbors) ...
45k views

### Factorial algorithm more efficient than naive multiplication

I know how to code for factorials using both iterative and recursive (e.g. n * factorial(n-1) for e.g.). I read in a textbook (without been given any further ...
6k views

### Are algorithms (and efficiency in general) getting less important?

Since buying computation power is much affordable than in the past, are the knowledge of algorithms and being efficient getting less important? It's clear that you would want to avoid an infinite loop,...
59k views

### Adding elements to a sorted array

What would be the fastest way of doing this (from an algorithmic perspective, as well as a practical matter)? I was thinking something along the following lines. I could add to the end of an array ...
9k views

### One element that differs in two arrays. How to find it efficiently?

I am preparing for a coding interview and I can't really figure out the most efficient way to solve this problem. Let's say we have two arrays consisting of numbers that are unsorted. Array 2 ...
2k views

### Is there any proof that quantum computers are more efficient than classical computers?

Shor's algorithm is often used as the argument. It can solve the factorization problem faster than any known algorithm for classical computers. Yet, we have no proof classical computers can't also ...
3k views

### Is there an algorithm for checking if a string is a catenation of palindromes?

Is there a linear-time algorithm to check that a sequence of characters is a concatenation of palindromes? The only thing that comes to my mind is the naive solution: ...
4k views

### How can a quadratic algorithm be faster than a linearithmic one?

I have to solve the following problem: Al and Bob are arguing about their algorithms. Al claims his $O(n\log n)$ time method is always faster than Bob’s $O(n^2)$ time method. To settle the issue, ...
387 views

### How again do certain sorting methods use $o(n \log n)$ time?

I hope this question isn't too 'soft' for here. It's been a while $\tiny{\text{an eternity for some people's standards}}$ since I've touched this stuff, and I had a convincing explanation to this ...
701 views

### Efficient algorithm to compute the minimum of multiple piecewise linear functions

Let $f_i(x)$ be a continuous, convex, piecewise-linear function for $i=1,\ldots,n$. Define $$g(x) = \min_{1\leq i\leq n} f_i(x).$$ Clearly, $g(x)$ is also a piecewise linear function. What would be ...
182 views

### Find a sorting procedure for seven elements that minimises the average number of comparisons performed

In The Art Of Computer Programming, Volume 3, Chapter 5.3.1, Problem 26, Knuth asks one to construct a sorting method that achieves the minimum number of average comparisons for n=7. This means that ...
2k views

### Hash table versus binary search lookup for unchanging data

Let's say I have some static, unchanging data (no adds, modifies or deletes) which is looked up by a string value, and that I'm looking to minimize size in memory while also trying to minimize lookup ...
522 views

### Relaxed Bin Packing Problem

The problem I have is like this bin packing problem, but instead I have $n$ bins and a collection of items with discrete masses. I need to put at least $m$ kg of stuff in each bin. Is there an ...
561 views

### From Guido's essays, how does this function avoid quadratic behavior in a string concatenation algorithm?

I am reading one of Guido van Rossum's essays on optimization in Python. We are interested in converting a Python list of integers to their character equivalents. Here's the straightforward ...
432 views

### What are the effects of the alphabet size on construct algorithms for suffix trees?

For what size alphabet does it take longer to construct a suffix tree - for a really small alphabet size (because it has to go deep into the tree) or for a large alphabet size? Or is it dependent on ...
4k views

### What is the best solution to find whether the sum of an array is even or odd

I was asked this question in an interview. I was not able to find a better solution than $O(n)$ which is just going over the array and finding the sum. Can it be done any better? I am not really ...
693 views

### Best data structure for high dimensional nearest neighbor search

I'm actually working on high dimensional data (~50.000-100.000 features) and nearest neighbors search must be performed on it. I know that KD-Trees has poor performance as dimensions grows, and also I'...
1k views

### A heuristic for finding a maximum disjoint set

Background I need to find a largest set of non-overlapping axis-parallel squares, out of a given collection of candidate squares. This problem is NP-complete. Many papers suggest approximation ...
744 views

### Speeding up a program solving Icosoku

I bought a great puzzle called Icosoku. Wikipedia describes it as: "The puzzle frame is a blue plastic icosahedron, and the pieces are 20 white equilateral-triangular snap-in tiles with black dots and ...
54 views

### Finding users covering a set x by x

I have a Set $S$ of objects, a set $U$ of users and a map $c: U \rightarrow S^{\prime}$, where $S^{\prime} \subset S$ and $\emptyset \notin S^{\prime}$. Every time I add a new entry to $c$, i.e. ...
381 views

### Unique integer priority queue with both $O(1)$ insert and extract-min?

I'm aware of the two questions prioritizing inserts and extracts individually, each in $O(1)$ time, but does there exist a unique integer priority queue algorithm for the range $[0, n)$ that can do ...
58 views

### Number of steps in worst Case

we have to run a song on a Walkman,for that we need 2 full batteries.Let s say we have a mixed set of 30 batteries (15 are emtpy and and 15 are full) and then only way to test if the battery full or ...