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Anurag Pandey
Anurag Pandey

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at geekypandey.github.io

Day 1: Rebooting the competitive programming drive

Disclaimer:

I am a beginner in competitive programming, and this is me documenting my learnings. So, anything I say is just what I think at the moment and should not be taken as hard truths.

It has been a long time now that I practiced my competitive programming skills. Not super good at it. Last I practiced thoroughly was during interview preparation in July 2020.

Phase 1: Base Building

I have planned to solve at least two implementation based problems everyday for a month starting today and additionally learning one new algorithm daily. I personally like string algorithms so I will start from there.

Problem 1: Do Not Be Distracted!

main() {
  int n;
  cin >> n;
  string s;
  cin >> s;
  s.erase(unique(begin(s), end(s)), end(s));
  sort(begin(s), end(s));
  auto it = unique(begin(s), end(s));
  if(it != end(s)) cout << "NO";
  else cout << "YES";
}
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Time Complexity: O(nlog(n))
Space Complexity: O(1) # not considering the space to hold the data

Another solution:

main() {
  int n;
  cin >> n;
  string s;
  cin >> s;
  unordered_set<char> se;
  bool yes = true;
  for(int i = 0; i < n; i++) {
    if(i && s[i] == s[i-1]) continue;
    if(se.count(s[i])) {
      yes = false;
      break;
    }
    se.insert(s[i]);
  }
  if(yes) cout << "YES";
  else cout << "NO";
}
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Time Complexity: O(n)
Space Complexity: O(n) # the unordered set used to contain
elements for checking.

Problem 2: Black Square

main() {
  vector<int> v(4);
  for(auto& e: v) cin >> e;
  string s;
  cin >> s;
  long long total = 0;
  for(auto& c: s) {
    int p = c - '0' - 1;  // additional -1 for zero based indexing
    total += v[p];
  }
  cout << total;
}
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This would be more fun to write in Python.

v = list(map(int, input().split()))
s = input()
s = [int(c)-1 for c in s]  #  -1 for zero based indexing
total = sum(v[i] for i in s)
print(total)
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I am sure we could use find STL algorithm for the C++ code.
That is all for today 2 implementation problem solving.

Let us hop on to learning one new/old string algorithm.

String Algorithm

The basic question when it comes to string is about, whether a given pattern of length m occurs in a text of length n.
The problem can be solved using naive method in O(n*m) time.

main() {
  string text = "abcabc";
  string pattern = "abc";
  int n = text.length(), m = pattern.length();
  bool found = false;
  // looping through all starting position of the pattern
  for(int i = 0; i < n-m+1; i++) {
    // checking if the substring matches
    if(text.substr(i, m) == pattern) {
      found = true;
      break;
    }
  }
  if(found) cout << "YES";
  else cout << "NO";
}
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Now there are algorithms that can solve the above pattern matching in O(n+m) time. The first one that comes in mind is the famous
Knuth Morris Pratt or better known as KMP algorithm.

Here is a video of Donald Knuth talking about KMP algorithm.


vector<int> prefix_func(string s) {
  int n = s.length();
  vector<int> pi(n, 0);
  for(int i = 1; i < n; i++) {
    int j = pi[i-1];
    while(j > 0 && s[i] != s[j])
        j = pi[j-1];
    if(s[i] == s[j])
        j++;
    pi[i] = j;
  }
  return pi;
}
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To use KMP algorithm, pre-compute the table using above prefix_func.
So for given pattern and text, the string that should be passed to prefix_func is pattern + x + text, where 'x' is some character which doesn't belong to neither pattern nor text.

The different questions that can be answered are:

  • Does the pattern occur in the text?
  • How many times does the pattern occur in the text?
  • If pattern occurs, find the starting position in text.
  • Find maximum non-overlapping occurrence of the pattern in the text. And many more.

Most of the time, pattern matching is used as a part for solving a problem, and not a whole problem.

Sources:

Resources for additonal learning and practicing:

Dated: 13th July 2021

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