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statistics_w  Match Editorial
SRM 337
Saturday, February 3, 2007

Match summary

This match was a mix of some classical but tough hard problems with a couple of ad-hoc and tricky (but less difficult) easy and medium problems. The trickyness, however, led to an entertaining challenge phase, with the top 3 in each division earning at least +50 points from challenges.

Division 1 got off to a quick start as some coders breezed through the first two problems, though many had to put on the brakes and spend a little extra time in one or both of the problems to get the corner cases worked out right. As they moved on to the hard problem, most coders put in a fair amount of time but only 11 could get some points out of it -- and none of them too quickly -- because of the detailed code required. At the end, andrewzta took home the win by less than 30 points, thanks to his three successful challenges. Petr came in second, despite not particularly fast solutions on the easy and the hard, thanks to +125 on challenges and the fall of some rivals' solutions. ctgPi followed in third with one successful challenge and a solid performance on all three problems.

In Division 2, many coders finished all three problems correctly and it all came down to challenges. Ice-man had an impressive challenge round, earning +550 points to secure first place with a wide margin. Second place went to ltdtl, with +225 and a fast solution on the hard. Third went to microsoft, who solved all problems quickly but racked up "only" +125 in the challenge phase.

The Problems

Palindromize2 rate it discuss it
Used as: Division Two - Level One:
Value 250
Submission Rate 568 / 647 (87.79%)
Success Rate 531 / 568 (93.49%)
High Score exod40 for 249.23 points (1 mins 35 secs)
Average Score 212.40 (for 531 correct submissions)
This problem was fairly easy, with examples covering almost every possibility. Most coders were able to eventually solve it, though many solutions took a while to appear.

The basic idea was to iterate every pair of "matching" letters in the palindrome (the first one with the last one, the second one with the one before the last one, etc) and see if it needed to be corrected. If that was the case, it could always be corrected by changing exactly one of the letters to the other. Of course, to make it lower alphabetically, you always wanted to use the first of the two letters in the alphabet.

For a detailed implementation see exod40's solution.

CardStraights rate it discuss it
Used as: Division Two - Level Two:
Value 500
Submission Rate 376 / 647 (58.11%)
Success Rate 91 / 376 (24.20%)
High Score .Bibby. for 468.32 points (7 mins 29 secs)
Average Score 266.78 (for 91 correct submissions)
Used as: Division One - Level One:
Value 250
Submission Rate 478 / 497 (96.18%)
Success Rate 264 / 478 (55.23%)
High Score ctgPi for 246.06 points (3 mins 36 secs)
Average Score 184.38 (for 264 correct submissions)
This problem proved very tricky for coders of both divisions, with many flawed solutions failing both in the challenge phase and in system tests. Coders who could see the problem's many corner cases were able to rack up many points in challenges.

There are many correct approaches to solving the problem, all more or less alike. The first thing to notice is that you can always use all jokers, so you must do so. There are 2 cases, either the straight is made only with jokers or it starts in a regular card (this overlooks the fact that is not valid to use a joker after a 1000000, but since we can also place jokers at the beginning there is no problem with that).

The first step for implementation is to parse the input, count the jokers, and sort the regular cards, eliminating the repeats (which are of course useless). Initialize the maximum in the number of jokers, and then try a straight starting in each of your regular cards. Construct the longest straight that starts there in the following way: If you have the next necessary card, use it; if not, use a joker. When you have neither a card nor a joker left, take that length and update the running maximum. Finally, just return the maximum.

To see this approach implemented check out .Bibby.'s code.

AnagramList rate it discuss it
Used as: Division Two - Level Three:
Value 1100
Submission Rate 52 / 647 (8.04%)
Success Rate 29 / 52 (55.77%)
High Score Ice-man for 772.26 points (20 mins 25 secs)
Average Score 598.39 (for 29 correct submissions)
This was a classical but tough problem for a Division 2 hard, and the unusual point total may have frightened some coders -- nevertheless, many were able to get it right, including some with plenty of time to spare.

The idea for this problem was based on mathematical knowledge. To avoid processing a lot of permutations (anagrams) that are not needed, the idea is to get a character of the solution at a time, from left to right. Since you can easily count the number of possible anagrams for a given set of letters -- if you have n letters it's n!/(a1!*...*ak!) where ai is the number of times a given letter appears (for instance, the number of permutations/anagrams of string "aaabbc" is 6!/(3!*2!*1!)).

With this in mind, we know that the total number of anagrams that start with an A can be calculated by removing an A from the original set and using the expression above. If i is less than that total, then we know that the result starts with an A, and we can calculate the rest recursively. If not, then we should try some other letter (B, then C, etc, ignoring the ones that do not appear in the current set) and keep adding the number of further anagrams that start with that letter to a running total until it exceeds i. The last one we used to make it exceed i is the letter to use, and then solve recursively by substracting the previous total (right before i was exceeded) to i for reindexing things.

See Ice-man's recursive implementation or ltdtl's iterative one.

BuildingAdvertise rate it discuss it
Used as: Division One - Level Two:
Value 500
Submission Rate 292 / 497 (58.75%)
Success Rate 177 / 292 (60.62%)
High Score lovro for 488.56 points (4 mins 22 secs)
Average Score 315.97 (for 177 correct submissions)
There were many ways to solve this problem, so I will outline one that I did not see when I reviewed some of the faster solutions.

Let's start with an obvious divide & conquer O(N^2) solution. First, find (one of) the smallest building i. Now we know that the rectangle is either that high with the whole width or is entirely to the left or to the right of that building, so we have two smaller instances of the same problem which we can recursively solve. Of course, for a base case, if the skyline is empty (has width = 0) we just return 0.

Now, this has O(N^2) running time because we need O(N) to search for the minimum height in each subproblem (always represented by an interval). As you can read in this tutorial, the input can be preprocessed in linear time to find such a minimum in logartihmic time, getting to an overall runtime of N log N, which was enough to solve the problem.

If you don't know about RMQ or don't want to implement that, you can just sort the buildings by height and process them from shortest to tallest, adding the x coordinate to a set of already processed buildings (which is to be initialized with -1 and n as borders). When processing the building at x with height h, we seek the maximum element less than x (mn) in the set and the minimum element greater than x (mx), so we know the width of the greatest rectangle we can make of height h that passes through x will have a width of (mx-mn-1), so we update our current best result with (mx-mn-1)*h. This is the same as the first presented algorithm (try to see why for yourself) and has an N log N runtime (for this to be true, we need a set that provides insertion and looks for upper bound and lower bound in logarithmic time, which at least C++ set and Java TreeSet have). Java code for this approach follows (here proc is the function that generates the input):
class bd implements Comparable {
	public long h; int x; public bd(long h, int x) { this.h=h; this.x=x; }
	public int compareTo(Object o) { return (int)(h-((bd)o).h); }
public long getMaxArea(int[] hh, int n) {
	long[] h=proc(hh,n);
	bd[] bds=new bd[n];
	for(int x=0;x<n;++x) bds[x]=new bd(h[x],x);
	SortedSet<Integer> s=new TreeSet<Integer>();
	long r=0; s.add(-1); s.add(n);
	for(bd b : bds) {
		int mn=s.headSet(b.x).last(),mx=s.tailSet(b.x).first();
	return r;
There were several other approaches ranging from linear time and space to N log2 N; you can find many solutions with different methods in the match overview.

CountPalindromes rate it discuss it
Used as: Division One - Level Three:
Value 1000
Submission Rate 27 / 497 (5.43%)
Success Rate 11 / 27 (40.74%)
High Score pashka for 620.83 points (25 mins 47 secs)
Average Score 483.25 (for 11 correct submissions)
This was a classical problem that proved to be tough enough. Even though many coders quickly saw that a solution involved dynammic programming (or memoized recursion) and had several minutes to work on it, only 11 coders were able to get a correct solution before the coding phase ended.

The easiest way to see the problem is this: Construct the palindrome from the edges (left and right) to the center. At all times, you must match each letter with its corresponding letter of the other half. Suppose you currently have something like "abcd" on the left side and "fedcba" on the right side -- you need to add something on the left side that starts with "fe." In this fashion, we'll keep track of the side that has more letters and try to compensate for them by adding to the other side. We also need to keep track of the maximum number of letters we have left so that we don't go over.

Restrict the function: At all times you have the maximum number of letters (between 0 and 100), the side where the exceeding part is (left or right) and the exceeding string. Since the exceeding string is always a prefix of a word in words for the left side or a suffix for the right side, there are 50x15 possibilities. With this we get an overall domain of 101x2x50x15 = 151500, which is pretty reasonable.

First, the base case: If the exceeding (sub)string is a palindrome, then the currently running total is a palindrome, so we add 1. If the maximum number of letters is less than zero, then we return 0, because the currently running total is not valid.

For the recursive case, we iterate all words and see if they match the current exceeding string, and if they do, we recursively try what happens if we append this to the proper side and add the number of palindromes that result from doing that to the result (see that we have two cases here -- either the exceeding string is longer than the used word, so we only have shortened it but keep exceeding in the same side, or it is longer, which means we have to switch sides). This process can be done 50x15 times (50 to iterate all words and 15 to check if it matches the exceeding part), getting an overall running time of 151500x50x15 = 113625000. This may seem like a little much to rely on, but a quick look at the function will make you realize that many parts of the domain will never be visited, so the actual runtime will be much lower than the upper bound. If you do some sorting you could get this 50x15 reduced to 50+15, but it requires some intricate work and preprocessing. Also, if you preprocessed for the possible matchings of each pair of words, you could cut this upper bound down by a constant of 1/15.

See the solution pashka used for a clear example of implementation.

By soul-net
TopCoder Member