Today we’re doing ‘Saturday Morning Coffee’ solutions — instead of ‘10pm Work Night’ solutions!
Continuing with the streak of string-based problems, all of the code here is ‘optimal’ — i.e., ~97th percentile or higher in the rankings.
Problem: Given the
order of an alien alphabet, are these given alien
words ordered lexiographically?
I started with a naive solution to this, which was to iterate
order into a Dictionary for fast character look-up. I then compared the given list against a
sorted() version of itself. I.e.,
return words == sorted(words, key=some lambda). I wasn’t happy with the runtime and I was wasting space —
sorted creates an addtional list in memory. Also, the function being passed to the lambda converted every word to a numerical list — more created space, more complexity.
I then tested using a list of
[None] * 26 to use as a look-up ‘Dictionary’ by converting the ASCII letters to their numerical values but it was actually slower than using a normal Dictionary which was surprising. So, the Dictionary had to stay.
My improvement was to use a compare function, letter by letter, so that no extra space was created. In some cases only the first letter of each word needed to be checked — instead of converting each whole word.
class Solution(object): def isAlienSorted(self, words, order): """ :type words: List[str] :type order: str :rtype: bool """ # fast char-value checking vals = dict() for idx, val in enumerate(order): vals[val] = idx for i in range(0, len(words)-1): w1, w2 = words[i], words[i+1] flag = 0 for j in range(min(len(w1), len(w2))): if vals[w1[j]] < vals[w2[j]]: # w1 is winner flag = 1 break elif vals[w1[j]] > vals[w2[j]]: # w2 is winner return False # w1 and w2 have equal comparable chars if flag != 1: if len(w1) > len(w2): return False return True
This is one of my fastest and cleanest solutions yet.
Runtime: 32 ms, faster than 100.00% of Python online submissions for Verifying an Alien Dictionary.
Spacetime complexity: Assuming an
order of 26:
Problem: Reverse the letters in string
S leaving all other characters in place.
I used a simple ‘two pointer’ solution to this, similar to a version that I used for 345. Reverse Vowels of a String.
from string import ascii_letters class Solution(object): def reverseOnlyLetters(self, S): """ :type S: str :rtype: str """ S = list(S) letters = set(ascii_letters) start = 0 end = len(S)-1 while not start > end: if S[start] not in letters: start += 1 continue if S[end] not in letters: end -= 1 continue S[start], S[end] = S[end], S[start] start += 1 end -= 1 return ''.join(S)
After researching, and checking the runtime percentile (~97th), I believe this to be the most optimal Python solution to this problem.
Problem: Given string
T, are they equal when written in a text editor when
# is backspace?
One of my early solutions was creating two lists, e.g.,
[None] * len(S), but I realised that this wasn’t optimal and may create more space than required.
I reached for
deque — Python’s implementation of a Double Ended Queue. With backspace equalling a
pop() the rest was pretty straight forward.
from collections import deque class Solution(object): def backspaceCompare(self, S, T): """ :type S: str :type T: str :rtype: bool """ s = deque() for i in S: if i == '#': if len(s) > 0: s.pop() else: continue else: s.append(i) t = deque() for i in T: if i == '#': if len(t) > 0: t.pop() else: continue else: t.append(i) return s == t
I saw a faster solution to this problem that doesn’t use any data structures. Instead it uses while loops and a lot of checking. It’s about twice as many lines of code as mine and, while impressive, is incredibly hard to parse!
Comments or questions? I enjoy talking with readers over email.