Dancing Links Algorithm and Less Known Data Structures

Dancing Links Algorithm and Less Known Data Structures

Thanks to Stephen Turner, we came across a very informative question-answer set from stackoverflow.


Everybody knows about linked lists, binary trees, and hashes, but what about Skip lists and Bloom filters for example. I would like to know more data structures that are not so common, but are worth knowing because they rely on great ideas and enrich a programmer’s tool box.

PS: I am also interested in techniques like Dancing links which make clever use of properties of a common data structure.

Few highlighted examples -

1. Dancing Links

In computer science, Dancing Links, also known as DLX, is the technique suggested by Donald Knuth to efficiently implement his Algorithm X.[1] Algorithm X is a recursive, nondeterministic, depth-first, backtracking algorithm that finds all solutions to the exact cover problem. Some of the better-known exact cover problems include tiling, the n queens problem, and Sudoku.

The name Dancing Links comes from the way the algorithm works, as iterations of the algorithm cause the links to “dance” with partner links so as to resemble an “exquisitely choreographed dance.” Knuth credits Hiroshi Hitotsumatsu and K?hei Noshita with having invented the idea in 1979,[2] but it is his paper which has popularized it.

2. Tries

In computer science, a trie, also called digital tree and sometimes radix tree or prefix tree (as they can be searched by prefixes), is an ordered tree data structure that is used to store a dynamic set or associative array where the keys are usually strings. Unlike a binary search tree, no node in the tree stores the key associated with that node; instead, its position in the tree defines the key with which it is associated. All the descendants of a node have a common prefix of the string associated with that node, and the root is associated with the empty string. Values are normally not associated with every node, only with leaves and some inner nodes that correspond to keys of interest. For the space-optimized presentation of prefix tree, see compact prefix tree.

3. Rope

In computer programming a rope, or cord, is a data structure for efficiently storing and manipulating a very long string. For example, a text editing program may use a rope to represent the text being edited, so that operations such as insertion, deletion, and random access can be done efficiently.[1]

Check Heng Li’s ropebwt for an example.

There is plenty more in the page including skip lists, spatial indices, zippers, lock-free queues and other possibilities.

Written by M. //