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Heapable Sequences and Subseqeuences

By John Byers, Brent Heeringa, Michael Mitzenmacher and Georgios Zervas


Let us call a sequence of numbers heapable if they can be sequentially inserted to form a binary tree with the heap property, where each insertion subsequent to the first occurs at a leaf of the tree, i.e. below a previously placed number. In this paper we consider a variety of problems related to heapable sequences and subsequences that do not appear to have been studied previously. Our motivation for introducing these concepts is two-fold. First, such problems correspond to natural extensions of the well-known secretary problem for hiring an organization with a hierarchical structure. Second, from a purely combinatorial perspective, our problems are interesting variations on similar longest increasing subsequence problems, a problem paradigm that has led to many deep mathematical connections. We provide several basic results. We obtain an efficient algorithm for determining the heapability of a sequence, and also prove that the question of whether a sequence can be arranged in a complete binary heap is NP-hard. Regarding subsequences we show that, with high probability, the longest heapable subsequence of a random permutation of n numbers has length (1 − o(1))n, and a subsequence of length (1 − o(1))n can in fact be found online with high probability. We similarly show that for a random permutation a subsequence that yields a complete heap of size αn for a constant α can be found with high probability. Our work highlights the interesting structure underlying this class of subsequence problems, and we leave many further interesting variations open for future work

Year: 2011
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