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Arithmetic Expression Construction

Authors: Leo Alcock, Sualeh Asif, Jeffrey Bosboom, Josh Brunner, Charlotte Chen, Erik D. Demaine, Rogers Epstein, Adam Hesterberg, Lior Hirschfeld, William Hu, Jayson Lynch, Sarah Scheffler, and Lillian Zhang

Published in: LIPIcs, Volume 181, 31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)


Abstract
When can n given numbers be combined using arithmetic operators from a given subset of {+,-,×,÷} to obtain a given target number? We study three variations of this problem of Arithmetic Expression Construction: when the expression (1) is unconstrained; (2) has a specified pattern of parentheses and operators (and only the numbers need to be assigned to blanks); or (3) must match a specified ordering of the numbers (but the operators and parenthesization are free). For each of these variants, and many of the subsets of {+,-,×,÷}, we prove the problem NP-complete, sometimes in the weak sense and sometimes in the strong sense. Most of these proofs make use of a rational function framework which proves equivalence of these problems for values in rational functions with values in positive integers.

Cite as

Leo Alcock, Sualeh Asif, Jeffrey Bosboom, Josh Brunner, Charlotte Chen, Erik D. Demaine, Rogers Epstein, Adam Hesterberg, Lior Hirschfeld, William Hu, Jayson Lynch, Sarah Scheffler, and Lillian Zhang. Arithmetic Expression Construction. In 31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 181, pp. 12:1-12:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


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@InProceedings{alcock_et_al:LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.12,
  author =	{Alcock, Leo and Asif, Sualeh and Bosboom, Jeffrey and Brunner, Josh and Chen, Charlotte and Demaine, Erik D. and Epstein, Rogers and Hesterberg, Adam and Hirschfeld, Lior and Hu, William and Lynch, Jayson and Scheffler, Sarah and Zhang, Lillian},
  title =	{{Arithmetic Expression Construction}},
  booktitle =	{31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)},
  pages =	{12:1--12:15},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-173-3},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2020},
  volume =	{181},
  editor =	{Cao, Yixin and Cheng, Siu-Wing and Li, Minming},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.12},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-133568},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.12},
  annote =	{Keywords: Hardness, algebraic complexity, expression trees}
}
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