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re: Nice! Thanks for sharing. :) Have you seen the built-in Counter class? This seems like a perfect use-case for it. from collections import Co...
 

I wondered if I could do better performance-wise, based on knowledge of the problem that the more general built-in classes couldn't take advantage of. Ended up with this:

import string

longString="..."

def decode(msg):
    # Testing suggests this is a little faster than using defaultdict
    charCountHash = {}.fromkeys(string.ascii_lowercase,0)
    charCountHash['_'] = 0

    for ch in msg:
        charCountHash[ch] += 1

    c = charCountHash['_']
    resultHash = {charCountHash[k]: k for k in charCountHash.keys() \
        if charCountHash[k] > c }

    return ''.join( [ resultHash[index] for index in \
        sorted(resultHash.keys(), reverse=True) ] )

print(decode(longString))

Testing both implementations a few times suggests this way is faster, but only 1% or so.

Might try this in go, just for the practice...

Nice! I haven't used fromkeys before. That's a nice alternative to defaultdict (and you don't have to import anything!) if you already know the keys you need.

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