On online labeling with polynomially many labels

Martin Babka, Jan Bulánek, Vladimír Čunát, Michal Koucký, Michael Saks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


In the online labeling problem with parameters n and m we are presented with a sequence of n keys from a totally ordered universe U and must assign each arriving key a label from the label set {1,2,...,m} so that the order of labels (strictly) respects the ordering on U. As new keys arrive it may be necessary to change the labels of some items; such changes may be done at any time at unit cost for each change. The goal is to minimize the total cost. An alternative formulation of this problem is the file maintenance problem, in which the items, instead of being labeled, are maintained in sorted order in an array of length m, and we pay unit cost for moving an item. For the case m=cn for constant c > 1, there are known algorithms that use at most O(n log(n) 2) relabelings in total [9], and it was shown recently that this is asymptotically optimal [1]. For the case of m = θ(n C) for C > 1, algorithms are known that use O(n logn) relabelings. A matching lower bound was claimed in [7]. That proof involved two distinct steps: a lower bound for a problem they call prefix bucketing and a reduction from prefix bucketing to online labeling. The reduction seems to be incorrect, leaving a (seemingly significant) gap in the proof. In this paper we close the gap by presenting a correct reduction to prefix bucketing. Furthermore we give a simplified and improved analysis of the prefix bucketing lower bound. This improvement allows us to extend the lower bounds for online labeling to the case where the number m of labels is superpolynomial in n. In particular, for superpolynomial m we get an asymptotically optimal lower bound Ω((n log n) / (log log m - log log n)).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAlgorithms, ESA 2012 - 20th Annual European Symposium, Proceedings
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2012
Event20th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms, ESA 2012 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Duration: Sep 10 2012Sep 12 2012

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7501 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other20th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms, ESA 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


  • file maintenance problem
  • lower bounds
  • online labeling


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