Space-Time Trade-offs for Stack-Based Algorithms

Authors Luis Barba, Matias Korman, Stefan Langerman, Rodrigo I. Silveira, Kunihiko Sadakane

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Luis Barba
Matias Korman
Stefan Langerman
Rodrigo I. Silveira
Kunihiko Sadakane

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Luis Barba, Matias Korman, Stefan Langerman, Rodrigo I. Silveira, and Kunihiko Sadakane. Space-Time Trade-offs for Stack-Based Algorithms. In 30th International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science (STACS 2013). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 20, pp. 281-292, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2013)


In memory-constrained algorithms we have read-only access to the input, and the number of additional variables is limited. In this paper we introduce the compressed stack technique, a method that allows to transform algorithms whose space bottleneck is a stack into memory-constrained algorithms. Given an algorithm A that runs in O(n) time using a stack of length Theta(n), we can modify it so that it runs in O(n^2/2^s) time using a workspace of O(s) variables (for any s \in o(log n)) or O(n log n/log p)$ time using O(p log n/log p) variables (for any 2 <= p <= n). We also show how the technique can be applied to solve various geometric problems, namely computing the convex hull of a simple polygon, a triangulation of a monotone polygon, the shortest path between two points inside a monotone polygon, 1-dimensional pyramid approximation of a 1-dimensional vector, and the visibility profile of a point inside a simple polygon. Our approach exceeds or matches the best-known results for these problems in constant-workspace models (when they exist), and gives a trade-off between the size of the workspace and running time. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first general framework for obtaining memory-constrained algorithms.
  • space-time trade-off
  • constant workspace
  • stack algorithms


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