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Sparse Search

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  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 03 Aug, 2022
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Given a sorted array of strings which is interspersed with empty strings, write a method to find the location of a given string.

Examples: 

Input : arr[] = {"for", "geeks", "", "", "", "", "ide", 
                      "practice", "", "", "", "quiz"}
          x = "geeks"
Output : 1

Input : arr[] = {"for", "geeks", "", "", "", "", "ide", 
                      "practice", "", "", "", "quiz"}, 
          x = "ds"
Output : -1

If there were no empty strings then we could’ve simply performed binary search. We can still use Binary Search with a little modification. If our mid is empty we just have to move mid to closest Non-Empty string.

Below is a implementation of above approach. 

C++




// C++ program to implement binary search
// in a sparse array.
#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;
 
/* Binary Search in an array with blanks */
int binarySearch(string *arr, int low, int high, string x) {
  if (low > high)
    return -1;
 
  int mid = (low + high) / 2;
 
  /*Modified Part*/
  if (arr[mid] == "") {
    int left = mid - 1;
    int right = mid + 1;
 
    /*Search for both side for a non empty string*/
    while (1) {
 
      /* No non-empty string on both sides */
      if (left < low && right > high)
        return -1;
 
      if (left >= low && arr[left] != "") {
        mid = left;
        break;
      }
 
      else if (right <= high && arr[right] != "") {
        mid = right;
        break;
      }
 
      left--;
      right++;
    }
  }
 
  /* Normal Binary Search */
  if (arr[mid] == x)
    return mid;
  else if (arr[mid] > x)
    return binarySearch(arr, low, mid - 1, x);
  else
    return binarySearch(arr, mid + 1, high, x);
}
 
int sparseSearch(string arr[], string x, int n) {
  return binarySearch(arr, 0, n - 1, x);
}
 
int main() {
  ios_base::sync_with_stdio(false);
 
  string arr[] = {"for", "geeks", "", "", "", "", "ide",
                      "practice", "", "", "", "quiz"};
  string x = "geeks";
  int n = sizeof(arr) / sizeof(arr[0]);
  int index = sparseSearch(arr, x, n);
  if (index != -1)
    cout << x << " found at index " << index << "\n";
  else
    cout << x << " not found\n";
  return 0;
}


Java




// Java program to implement binary search
// in a sparse array.
 
class solution
{
 
// Binary Search in an array with blanks
static int binarySearch(String arr[], int low, int high, String x) {
if (low > high)
    return -1;
 
int mid = (low + high) / 2;
 
//Modified Part
if (arr[mid] == "") {
    int left = mid - 1;
    int right = mid + 1;
 
    /*Search for both side for a non empty string*/
    while (true) {
 
    /* No non-empty string on both sides */
    if (left < low && right > high)
        return -1;
 
    if (left >= low && arr[left] != "") {
        mid = left;
        break;
    }
 
    else if (right <= high && arr[right] != "") {
        mid = right;
        break;
    }
 
    left--;
    right++;
    }
}
 
/* Normal Binary Search */
if (arr[mid] == x)
    return mid;
else if (x.compareTo(arr[mid]) < 0)
    return binarySearch(arr, low, mid - 1, x);
else
    return binarySearch(arr, mid + 1, high, x);
}
 
static int sparseSearch(String arr[], String x, int n) {
return binarySearch(arr, 0, n - 1, x);
}
 
public static void main(String args[]) {
 
String arr[] = {"for", "geeks", "", "", "", "", "ide",
                    "practice", "", "", "", "quiz"};
String x = "geeks";
int n = x.length();
int index = sparseSearch(arr, x, n);
if (index != -1)
    System.out.println(x+ " found at index "+index);
else
    System.out.println(x+" not found");
 
}
}
 
// This code is implemented by
// Surendra_Gangwar


Python3




# Python3 program to implement binary search
#  in a sparse array
 
def sparseSearch(arr , key , low , high):
 
    left = 0; right = 0
 
    while low <= high:
 
            mid = low + (high - low) // 2
 
            if arr[mid] == '':
                left = mid - 1
                right = mid + 1
 
                while True:
 
                    # Check for out of bounds
                    if left < low and right > high:
                        return -1
 
                    elif left >= low and arr[left] != '':
                        # Search left
                        mid = left
                        break
 
                    elif right <= high and arr[right] != '':
                        # Search right
                        mid = right
                        break
 
                    left -= 1
                    right += 1
 
            if arr[mid] == key:
                print('Found string {} at index {}'.format
                     (arr[mid] , mid))
                return mid
 
            # Classical Binary search
            # search left
            elif arr[mid] > key:
                high = mid - 1
 
            # search right
            elif arr[mid] < key:
                low = mid + 1
 
    return -1
 
if __name__ == '__main__':
 
    arr = ["for", "geeks", "", "", "", "", "ide",
           "practice", "", "", "", "quiz"]                
    key = 'geeks'
 
    low = 0
    high = len(arr) - 1
 
    sparseSearch(arr , key , low , high)
 
# This is  Code contributed by
# Ashwin Viswanathan
# Additional Updates by Meghna Natraj


C#




// C# program to implement binary search
// in a sparse array.
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
 
class GFG{
     
// Binary Search in an array with blanks
static int binarySearch(string []arr, int low,
                        int high, string x)
{
    if (low > high)
        return -1;
     
    int mid = (low + high) / 2;
     
    // Modified Part
    if (arr[mid] == "")
    {
        int left = mid - 1;
        int right = mid + 1;
     
        // Search for both side for
        // a non empty string
        while (true)
        {
             
            // No non-empty string on both sides
            if (left < low && right > high)
                return -1;
         
            if (left >= low && arr[left] != "")
            {
                mid = left;
                break;
            }
         
            else if (right <= high &&
                arr[right] != "")
            {
                mid = right;
                break;
            }
             
            left--;
            right++;
        }
    }
 
    // Normal Binary Search
    if (arr[mid] == x)
        return mid;
         
    else if (x.CompareTo(arr[mid]) < 0)
        return binarySearch(arr, low,
                            mid - 1, x);
    else
        return binarySearch(arr, mid + 1,
                           high, x);
}
 
static int sparseSearch(string []arr,
                        string x, int n)
{
    return binarySearch(arr, 0, n - 1, x);
}
 
// Driver Code
public static void Main(string[] args)
{
    string []arr = { "for", "geeks", "", "",
                     "", "", "ide""practice",
                     "", "", "", "quiz"};
                      
    string x = "geeks";
    int n = x.Length;
     
    int index = sparseSearch(arr, x, n);
     
    if (index != -1)
        Console.Write(x + " found at index " +
                      index);
    else
        Console.Write(x + " not found");
}
}
 
// This code is contributed by rutvik_56


Javascript




<script>
// Javascript program to implement binary search
// in a sparse array.
 
// Binary Search in an array with blanks
function binarySearch(arr, low, high, x) {
    if (low > high)
        return -1;
 
    let mid = Math.floor((low + high) / 2);
 
    // Modified Part
    if (arr[mid] == "")
    {
        let left = mid - 1;
        let right = mid + 1;
 
        /*Search for both side for a non empty string*/
        while (true) {
 
            /* No non-empty string on both sides */
            if (left < low && right > high)
                return -1;
 
            if (left >= low && arr[left] != "") {
                mid = left;
                break;
            }
 
            else if (right <= high && arr[right] != "") {
                mid = right;
                break;
            }
 
            left--;
            right++;
        }
    }
 
    /* Normal Binary Search */
    if (arr[mid] == x)
        return mid;
    else if (arr[mid] > x)
        return binarySearch(arr, low, mid - 1, x);
    else
        return binarySearch(arr, mid + 1, high, x);
}
 
function sparseSearch(arr, x, n) {
    return binarySearch(arr, 0, n - 1, x);
}
 
let arr = ["for", "geeks", "", "", "", "", "ide",
    "practice", "", "", "", "quiz"];
let x = "geeks";
let n = x.length;
let index = sparseSearch(arr, x, n);
if (index != -1)
    document.write(x + " found at index " + index);
else
    document.write(x + " not found");
 
// This code is implemented by
// _saurabh_jaiswal
</script>


Output: 

geeks found at index 1

 

Time Complexity: O(logn)
Auxiliary Space: O(logn)


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