The Prague Stringology Conference 2009

Gonzalo Navarro

Combining Text Compression and String Matching: The Miracle of Self-Indexing

This decade has witnessed the raise of what I consider the most important breakthrough of modern times in text compression and indexed string matching. Self-indexing is the mechanism by which a text is simultaneously compressed and indexed, so that the self-index occupies space close to that of the compressed text, provides random access to any part of it, and in addition supports efficient indexed pattern matching. Thus a self-index can replace the text by a compressed version with enhanced search functionalities. Self-indexing builds on a large base of compressed data structures, which is another fascinating algorithmic area that has appeared two decades ago with the aim of obtaining compact representations of classical data structures. Although they usually require more instructions than their classical counterparts to operate, they can benefit from the memory hierarchy. This is particularly noticeable when they can operate in main memory in cases where the classical structures require disk storage.

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