Skip to content
Related Articles

Related Articles

Improve Article
Save Article
Like Article

Boyer Moore Algorithm for Pattern Searching

  • Difficulty Level : Hard
  • Last Updated : 02 Dec, 2021

Pattern searching is an important problem in computer science. When we do search for a string in a notepad/word file, browser, or database, pattern searching algorithms are used to show the search results. A typical problem statement would be- 
Given a text txt[0..n-1] and a pattern pat[0..m-1] where n is the length of the text and m is the length of the pattern, write a function search(char pat[], char txt[]) that prints all occurrences of pat[] in txt[]. You may assume that n > m. 
Examples: 

Input:  txt[] = "THIS IS A TEST TEXT"
        pat[] = "TEST"
Output: Pattern found at index 10

Input:  txt[] =  "AABAACAADAABAABA"
        pat[] =  "AABA"
Output: Pattern found at index 0
        Pattern found at index 9
        Pattern found at index 12

Attention reader! Don’t stop learning now. Get hold of all the important DSA concepts with the DSA Self Paced Course at a student-friendly price and become industry ready.  To complete your preparation from learning a language to DS Algo and many more,  please refer Complete Interview Preparation Course.

In case you wish to attend live classes with experts, please refer DSA Live Classes for Working Professionals and Competitive Programming Live for Students.

In this post, we will discuss the Boyer Moore pattern searching algorithm. Like KMP and Finite Automata algorithms, Boyer Moore algorithm also preprocesses the pattern. 
Boyer Moore is a combination of the following two approaches. 
1) Bad Character Heuristic 
2) Good Suffix Heuristic 
Both of the above heuristics can also be used independently to search a pattern in a text. Let us first understand how two independent approaches work together in the Boyer Moore algorithm. If we take a look at the Naive algorithm, it slides the pattern over the text one by one. KMP algorithm does preprocessing over the pattern so that the pattern can be shifted by more than one. The Boyer Moore algorithm does preprocessing for the same reason. It processes the pattern and creates different arrays for each of the two heuristics. At every step, it slides the pattern by the max of the slides suggested by each of the two heuristics. So it uses greatest offset suggested by the two heuristics at every step
Unlike the previous pattern searching algorithms, the Boyer Moore algorithm starts matching from the last character of the pattern.
In this post, we will discuss the bad character heuristic and the Good Suffix heuristic in the next post. 
 



Bad Character Heuristic

The idea of bad character heuristic is simple. The character of the text which doesn’t match with the current character of the pattern is called the Bad Character. Upon mismatch, we shift the pattern until – 
1) The mismatch becomes a match
2) Pattern P moves past the mismatched character.
Case 1 – Mismatch become match 
We will lookup the position of the last occurrence of the mismatched character in the pattern, and if the mismatched character exists in the pattern, then we’ll shift the pattern such that it becomes aligned to the mismatched character in the text T. 
 

Boyer Moore Algorithm for Pattern Searching

case 1

Explanation: In the above example, we got a mismatch at position 3. Here our mismatching character is “A”. Now we will search for last occurrence of “A” in pattern. We got “A” at position 1 in pattern (displayed in Blue) and this is the last occurrence of it. Now we will shift pattern 2 times so that “A” in pattern get aligned with “A” in text.
Case 2 – Pattern move past the mismatch character 
We’ll lookup the position of last occurrence of mismatching character in pattern and if character does not exist we will shift pattern past the mismatching character. 
 

Boyer Moore Algorithm for Pattern Searching

case2

Explanation: Here we have a mismatch at position 7. The mismatching character “C” does not exist in pattern before position 7 so we’ll shift pattern past to the position 7 and eventually in above example we have got a perfect match of pattern (displayed in Green). We are doing this because “C” does not exist in the pattern so at every shift before position 7 we will get mismatch and our search will be fruitless.
In the following implementation, we preprocess the pattern and store the last occurrence of every possible character in an array of size equal to alphabet size. If the character is not present at all, then it may result in a shift by m (length of pattern). Therefore, the bad character heuristic takes O(n/m)              time in the best case. 
 

C++




/* C++ Program for Bad Character Heuristic of Boyer
Moore String Matching Algorithm */
#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;
# define NO_OF_CHARS 256
 
// The preprocessing function for Boyer Moore's
// bad character heuristic
void badCharHeuristic( string str, int size,
                        int badchar[NO_OF_CHARS])
{
    int i;
 
    // Initialize all occurrences as -1
    for (i = 0; i < NO_OF_CHARS; i++)
        badchar[i] = -1;
 
    // Fill the actual value of last occurrence
    // of a character
    for (i = 0; i < size; i++)
        badchar[(int) str[i]] = i;
}
 
/* A pattern searching function that uses Bad
Character Heuristic of Boyer Moore Algorithm */
void search( string txt, string pat)
{
    int m = pat.size();
    int n = txt.size();
 
    int badchar[NO_OF_CHARS];
 
    /* Fill the bad character array by calling
    the preprocessing function badCharHeuristic()
    for given pattern */
    badCharHeuristic(pat, m, badchar);
 
    int s = 0; // s is shift of the pattern with
                // respect to text
    while(s <= (n - m))
    {
        int j = m - 1;
 
        /* Keep reducing index j of pattern while
        characters of pattern and text are
        matching at this shift s */
        while(j >= 0 && pat[j] == txt[s + j])
            j--;
 
        /* If the pattern is present at current
        shift, then index j will become -1 after
        the above loop */
        if (j < 0)
        {
            cout << "pattern occurs at shift = " <<  s << endl;
 
            /* Shift the pattern so that the next
            character in text aligns with the last
            occurrence of it in pattern.
            The condition s+m < n is necessary for
            the case when pattern occurs at the end
            of text */
            s += (s + m < n)? m-badchar[txt[s + m]] : 1;
 
        }
 
        else
            /* Shift the pattern so that the bad character
            in text aligns with the last occurrence of
            it in pattern. The max function is used to
            make sure that we get a positive shift.
            We may get a negative shift if the last
            occurrence of bad character in pattern
            is on the right side of the current
            character. */
            s += max(1, j - badchar[txt[s + j]]);
    }
}
 
/* Driver code */
int main()
{
    string txt= "ABAAABCD";
    string pat = "ABC";
    search(txt, pat);
    return 0;
}
  
 // This code is contributed by rathbhupendra


C




/* C Program for Bad Character Heuristic of Boyer
   Moore String Matching Algorithm */
# include <limits.h>
# include <string.h>
# include <stdio.h>
 
# define NO_OF_CHARS 256
 
// A utility function to get maximum of two integers
int max (int a, int b) { return (a > b)? a: b; }
 
// The preprocessing function for Boyer Moore's
// bad character heuristic
void badCharHeuristic( char *str, int size,
                        int badchar[NO_OF_CHARS])
{
    int i;
 
    // Initialize all occurrences as -1
    for (i = 0; i < NO_OF_CHARS; i++)
         badchar[i] = -1;
 
    // Fill the actual value of last occurrence
    // of a character
    for (i = 0; i < size; i++)
         badchar[(int) str[i]] = i;
}
 
/* A pattern searching function that uses Bad
   Character Heuristic of Boyer Moore Algorithm */
void search( char *txt,  char *pat)
{
    int m = strlen(pat);
    int n = strlen(txt);
 
    int badchar[NO_OF_CHARS];
 
    /* Fill the bad character array by calling
       the preprocessing function badCharHeuristic()
       for given pattern */
    badCharHeuristic(pat, m, badchar);
 
    int s = 0;  // s is shift of the pattern with
                // respect to text
    while(s <= (n - m))
    {
        int j = m-1;
 
        /* Keep reducing index j of pattern while
           characters of pattern and text are
           matching at this shift s */
        while(j >= 0 && pat[j] == txt[s+j])
            j--;
 
        /* If the pattern is present at current
           shift, then index j will become -1 after
           the above loop */
        if (j < 0)
        {
            printf("\n pattern occurs at shift = %d", s);
 
            /* Shift the pattern so that the next
               character in text aligns with the last
               occurrence of it in pattern.
               The condition s+m < n is necessary for
               the case when pattern occurs at the end
               of text */
            s += (s+m < n)? m-badchar[txt[s+m]] : 1;
 
        }
 
        else
            /* Shift the pattern so that the bad character
               in text aligns with the last occurrence of
               it in pattern. The max function is used to
               make sure that we get a positive shift.
               We may get a negative shift if the last
               occurrence  of bad character in pattern
               is on the right side of the current
               character. */
            s += max(1, j - badchar[txt[s+j]]);
    }
}
 
/* Driver program to test above function */
int main()
{
    char txt[] = "ABAAABCD";
    char pat[] = "ABC";
    search(txt, pat);
    return 0;
}


Java




/* Java Program for Bad Character Heuristic of Boyer
Moore String Matching Algorithm */
 
 
class AWQ{
     
     static int NO_OF_CHARS = 256;
      
    //A utility function to get maximum of two integers
     static int max (int a, int b) { return (a > b)? a: b; }
 
     //The preprocessing function for Boyer Moore's
     //bad character heuristic
     static void badCharHeuristic( char []str, int size,int badchar[])
     {
 
      // Initialize all occurrences as -1
      for (int i = 0; i < NO_OF_CHARS; i++)
           badchar[i] = -1;
 
      // Fill the actual value of last occurrence
      // of a character (indices of table are ascii and values are index of occurence)
      for (int i = 0; i < size; i++)
           badchar[(int) str[i]] = i;
     }
 
     /* A pattern searching function that uses Bad
     Character Heuristic of Boyer Moore Algorithm */
     static void search( char txt[],  char pat[])
     {
      int m = pat.length;
      int n = txt.length;
 
      int badchar[] = new int[NO_OF_CHARS];
 
      /* Fill the bad character array by calling
         the preprocessing function badCharHeuristic()
         for given pattern */
      badCharHeuristic(pat, m, badchar);
 
      int s = 0// s is shift of the pattern with
                  // respect to text
       //there are n-m+1 potential allignments
      while(s <= (n - m))
      {
          int j = m-1;
 
          /* Keep reducing index j of pattern while
             characters of pattern and text are
             matching at this shift s */
          while(j >= 0 && pat[j] == txt[s+j])
              j--;
 
          /* If the pattern is present at current
             shift, then index j will become -1 after
             the above loop */
          if (j < 0)
          {
              System.out.println("Patterns occur at shift = " + s);
 
              /* Shift the pattern so that the next
                 character in text aligns with the last
                 occurrence of it in pattern.
                 The condition s+m < n is necessary for
                 the case when pattern occurs at the end
                 of text */
              //txt[s+m] is character after the pattern in text
              s += (s+m < n)? m-badchar[txt[s+m]] : 1;
 
          }
 
          else
              /* Shift the pattern so that the bad character
                 in text aligns with the last occurrence of
                 it in pattern. The max function is used to
                 make sure that we get a positive shift.
                 We may get a negative shift if the last
                 occurrence  of bad character in pattern
                 is on the right side of the current
                 character. */
              s += max(1, j - badchar[txt[s+j]]);
      }
     }
 
     /* Driver program to test above function */
    public static void main(String []args) {
         
         char txt[] = "ABAAABCD".toCharArray();
         char pat[] = "ABC".toCharArray();
         search(txt, pat);
    }
}


Python




# Python3 Program for Bad Character Heuristic
# of Boyer Moore String Matching Algorithm
 
NO_OF_CHARS = 256
 
def badCharHeuristic(string, size):
    '''
    The preprocessing function for
    Boyer Moore's bad character heuristic
    '''
 
    # Initialize all occurrence as -1
    badChar = [-1]*NO_OF_CHARS
 
    # Fill the actual value of last occurrence
    for i in range(size):
        badChar[ord(string[i])] = i;
 
    # return initialized list
    return badChar
 
def search(txt, pat):
    '''
    A pattern searching function that uses Bad Character
    Heuristic of Boyer Moore Algorithm
    '''
    m = len(pat)
    n = len(txt)
 
    # create the bad character list by calling
    # the preprocessing function badCharHeuristic()
    # for given pattern
    badChar = badCharHeuristic(pat, m)
 
    # s is shift of the pattern with respect to text
    s = 0
    while(s <= n-m):
        j = m-1
 
        # Keep reducing index j of pattern while
        # characters of pattern and text are matching
        # at this shift s
        while j>=0 and pat[j] == txt[s+j]:
            j -= 1
 
        # If the pattern is present at current shift,
        # then index j will become -1 after the above loop
        if j<0:
            print("Pattern occur at shift = {}".format(s))
 
            '''   
                Shift the pattern so that the next character in text
                      aligns with the last occurrence of it in pattern.
                The condition s+m < n is necessary for the case when
                   pattern occurs at the end of text
               '''
            s += (m-badChar[ord(txt[s+m])] if s+m<n else 1)
        else:
            '''
               Shift the pattern so that the bad character in text
               aligns with the last occurrence of it in pattern. The
               max function is used to make sure that we get a positive
               shift. We may get a negative shift if the last occurrence
               of bad character in pattern is on the right side of the
               current character.
            '''
            s += max(1, j-badChar[ord(txt[s+j])])
 
 
# Driver program to test above function
def main():
    txt = "ABAAABCD"
    pat = "ABC"
    search(txt, pat)
 
if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()
 
# This code is contributed by Atul Kumar
# (www.facebook.com/atul.kr.007)


C#




/* C# Program for Bad Character Heuristic of Boyer
Moore String Matching Algorithm */
 
using System;
public class AWQ{
     
    static int NO_OF_CHARS = 256;
     
    //A utility function to get maximum of two integers
    static int max (int a, int b) { return (a > b)? a: b; }
 
    //The preprocessing function for Boyer Moore's
    //bad character heuristic
    static void badCharHeuristic( char []str, int size,int []badchar)
    {
    int i;
 
    // Initialize all occurrences as -1
    for (i = 0; i < NO_OF_CHARS; i++)
        badchar[i] = -1;
 
    // Fill the actual value of last occurrence
    // of a character
    for (i = 0; i < size; i++)
        badchar[(int) str[i]] = i;
    }
 
    /* A pattern searching function that uses Bad
    Character Heuristic of Boyer Moore Algorithm */
    static void search( char []txt, char []pat)
    {
    int m = pat.Length;
    int n = txt.Length;
 
    int []badchar = new int[NO_OF_CHARS];
 
    /* Fill the bad character array by calling
        the preprocessing function badCharHeuristic()
        for given pattern */
    badCharHeuristic(pat, m, badchar);
 
    int s = 0; // s is shift of the pattern with
                // respect to text
    while(s <= (n - m))
    {
        int j = m-1;
 
        /* Keep reducing index j of pattern while
            characters of pattern and text are
            matching at this shift s */
        while(j >= 0 && pat[j] == txt[s+j])
            j--;
 
        /* If the pattern is present at current
            shift, then index j will become -1 after
            the above loop */
        if (j < 0)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Patterns occur at shift = " + s);
 
            /* Shift the pattern so that the next
                character in text aligns with the last
                occurrence of it in pattern.
                The condition s+m < n is necessary for
                the case when pattern occurs at the end
                of text */
            s += (s+m < n)? m-badchar[txt[s+m]] : 1;
 
        }
 
        else
            /* Shift the pattern so that the bad character
                in text aligns with the last occurrence of
                it in pattern. The max function is used to
                make sure that we get a positive shift.
                We may get a negative shift if the last
                occurrence of bad character in pattern
                is on the right side of the current
                character. */
            s += max(1, j - badchar[txt[s+j]]);
    }
    }
 
    /* Driver program to test above function */
    public static void Main() {
         
        char []txt = "ABAAABCD".ToCharArray();
        char []pat = "ABC".ToCharArray();
        search(txt, pat);
    }
}
 
// This code is contributed by PrinciRaj19992


Javascript




<script>
/* Javascript Program for Bad Character Heuristic of Boyer
Moore String Matching Algorithm */
let NO_OF_CHARS = 256;
 
// A utility function to get maximum of two integers
function max (a,b)
{
    return (a > b)? a: b;
}
 
// The preprocessing function for Boyer Moore's
// bad character heuristic
function badCharHeuristic(str,size,badchar)
{
    // Initialize all occurrences as -1
      for (let i = 0; i < NO_OF_CHARS; i++)
           badchar[i] = -1;
  
      // Fill the actual value of last occurrence
      // of a character (indices of table are ascii and values are index of occurence)
      for (i = 0; i < size; i++)
           badchar[ str[i].charCodeAt(0)] = i;
}
 
/* A pattern searching function that uses Bad
     Character Heuristic of Boyer Moore Algorithm */
function search(txt,pat)
{
    let m = pat.length;
      let n = txt.length;
  
      let badchar = new Array(NO_OF_CHARS);
  
      /* Fill the bad character array by calling
         the preprocessing function badCharHeuristic()
         for given pattern */
      badCharHeuristic(pat, m, badchar);
  
      let s = 0;  // s is shift of the pattern with
                  // respect to text
       // there are n-m+1 potential allignments
      while(s <= (n - m))
      {
          let j = m-1;
  
          /* Keep reducing index j of pattern while
             characters of pattern and text are
             matching at this shift s */
          while(j >= 0 && pat[j] == txt[s+j])
              j--;
  
          /* If the pattern is present at current
             shift, then index j will become -1 after
             the above loop */
          if (j < 0)
          {
              document.write("Patterns occur at shift = " + s);
  
              /* Shift the pattern so that the next
                 character in text aligns with the last
                 occurrence of it in pattern.
                 The condition s+m < n is necessary for
                 the case when pattern occurs at the end
                 of text */
              //txt[s+m] is character after the pattern in text
              s += (s+m < n)? m-badchar[txt[s+m].charCodeAt(0)] : 1;
  
          }
  
          else
              /* Shift the pattern so that the bad character
                 in text aligns with the last occurrence of
                 it in pattern. The max function is used to
                 make sure that we get a positive shift.
                 We may get a negative shift if the last
                 occurrence  of bad character in pattern
                 is on the right side of the current
                 character. */
              s += max(1, j - badchar[txt[s+j].charCodeAt(0)]);
      }
}
 
/* Driver program to test above function */
let txt="ABAAABCD".split("");
let pat = "ABC".split("");
search(txt, pat);
 
// This code is contributed by unknown2108
</script>


Output: 

 pattern occurs at shift = 4

The Bad Character Heuristic may take O(mn)              time in worst case. The worst case occurs when all characters of the text and pattern are same. For example, txt[] = “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” and pat[] = “AAAAA”. The Bad Character Heuristic may take O(n/m) in the best case. The best case occurs when all all the characters of the text and pattern are different. 

Boyer Moore Algorithm | Good Suffix heuristic
This article is co-authored by Atul Kumar. Please write comments if you find anything incorrect, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.
 




My Personal Notes arrow_drop_up
Recommended Articles
Page :

Start Your Coding Journey Now!