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#### Pattern-avoiding Access in Binary Search Trees

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arXiv:1507.06953.pdf

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##### Citation

Chalermsook, P., Goswami, M., Kozma, L., Mehlhorn, K., & Saranurak, T. (2015). Pattern-avoiding Access in Binary Search Trees. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1507.06953.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-8F4C-0

##### Abstract

The dynamic optimality conjecture is perhaps the most fundamental open
question about binary search trees (BST). It postulates the existence of an
asymptotically optimal online BST, i.e. one that is constant factor competitive
with any BST on any input access sequence. The two main candidates for dynamic
optimality in the literature are splay trees [Sleator and Tarjan, 1985], and
Greedy [Lucas, 1988; Munro, 2000; Demaine et al. 2009] [..]
Dynamic optimality is trivial for almost all sequences: the optimum access
cost of most length-n sequences is Theta(n log n), achievable by any balanced
BST. Thus, the obvious missing step towards the conjecture is an understanding
of the "easy" access sequences. [..] The difficulty of proving dynamic
optimality is witnessed by highly restricted special cases that remain
unresolved; one prominent example is the traversal conjecture [Sleator and
Tarjan, 1985], which states that preorder sequences (whose optimum is linear)
are linear-time accessed by splay trees; no online BST is known to satisfy this
conjecture.
In this paper, we prove two different relaxations of the traversal conjecture
for Greedy: (i) Greedy is almost linear for preorder traversal, (ii) if a
linear-time preprocessing is allowed, Greedy is in fact linear. These
statements are corollaries of our more general results that express the
complexity of access sequences in terms of a pattern avoidance parameter k.
[..] To our knowledge, these are the first upper bounds for Greedy that are not
known to hold for any other online BST. To obtain these results we identify an
input-revealing property of Greedy. Informally, this means that the execution
log partially reveals the structure of the access sequence. This property
facilitates the use of rich technical tools from forbidden submatrix theory.
[Abridged]