Superstrings with multiplicities


A superstring of a set of words $P = s_1, …, s_p $ is a string that contains each word of P as substring. Given P, the well known Shortest Linear Superstring problem (SLS), asks for a shortest superstring of P. In a variant of SLS, called Multi-SLS, each word s_i comes with an integer m(i), its multiplicity, that sets a constraint on its number of occurrences, and the goal is to find a shortest superstring that contains at least m(i) occurrences of s_i. Multi-SLS generalizes SLS and is obviously as hard to solve, but it has been studied only in special cases (with words of length 2 or with a fixed number of words). The approximability of Multi-SLS in the general case remains open. Here, we study the approximability of Multi-SLS and that of the companion problem Multi-SCCS, which asks for a shortest cyclic cover instead of shortest superstring. First, we investigate the approximation of a greedy algorithm for maximizing the compression offered by a superstring or by a cyclic cover: the approximation ratio is 1/2 for Multi-SLS and 1 for Multi-SCCS. Then, we exhibit a linear time approximation algorithm, Concat-Greedy, and show it achieves a ratio of 4 regarding the superstring length. This demonstrates that for both measures Multi-SLS belongs to the class of APX problems.

Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Pattern Matching (CPM 2018)
greedy algorithm approximation overlap cyclic cover APX subset system
Bastien Cazaux
postdoctoral fellow, former PhD and master student

Trained in mathematics and computer science.