Complexities of the Centre and Median String Problems


Given a finite set of strings, the median string problem consists in finding a string that minimizes the sum of the distances to the strings in the set. Approximations of the median string are used in a very broad range of applications where one needs a representative string that summarizes common information to the strings of the set. It is the case in Classification, in Speech and Pattern Recognition, and in Computational Biology. In the latter, Median String is related to the key problem of Multiple Alignment. In the recent literature, one finds a theorem stating the NP-completeness of the median string for unbounded alphabets. However, in the above mentioned areas, the alphabet is often finite. Thus, it remains a crucial question whether the median string problem is NP-complete for finite and even binary alphabets. In this work, we provide an answer to this question and also give the complexity of the related centre string problem. Moreover, we study the parametrized complexity of both problems with respect to the number of input strings.

Lecture Notes in Computer Science
edit distance input string Polynomial Time Approximation Scheme Levenshtein distance binary alphabet