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Pattern-avoiding Access in Binary Search Trees


Chalermsook,  Parinya
Algorithms and Complexity, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;


Goswami,  Mayank
Algorithms and Complexity, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;


Mehlhorn,  Kurt
Algorithms and Complexity, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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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: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-8F4C-0
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]