Engineering Zuffix Arrays

Authors Paolo Boldi , Stefano Marchini, Sebastiano Vigna

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Paolo Boldi
  • Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Stefano Marchini
  • Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Sebastiano Vigna
  • Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

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Paolo Boldi, Stefano Marchini, and Sebastiano Vigna. Engineering Zuffix Arrays. In 22nd International Symposium on Experimental Algorithms (SEA 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 301, pp. 2:1-2:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)


Searching patterns in long strings is a classical algorithmic problem with countless practical applications. Suffix trees and suffix arrays (and their variants) are a long-established solution that yields linear-time search (in the size of the pattern). In [Paolo Boldi and Sebastiano Vigna, 2018] it is shown that a z-map gadget can be attached to (enhanced) suffix arrays to improve their theoretical query time, obtaining a data structure called zuffix array. The main contribution of this paper is to show that a carefully engineered implementation of the z-map gadget does provide significant speedups with respect to enhanced suffix arrays on real-world datasets, albeit doubling the required space. In particular, for large alphabets we observe a sevenfold improvement in query time with respect to enhanced suffix arrays; even in the worst case (small alphabets), the query time is almost halved. Thus, zuffix arrays provide a very interesting new point in the space-time tradeoff spectrum.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Data structures design and analysis
  • Suffix trees
  • suffix arrays
  • z-fast tries


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