Approximate cover of strings

Amihood Amir, Avivit Levy, Ronit Lubin, Ely Porat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Regularities in strings arise in various areas of science, including coding and automata theory, formal language theory, combinatorics, molecular biology and many others. A common notion to describe regularity in a string T is a cover, which is a string C for which every letter of T lies within some occurrence of C. The alignment of the cover repetitions in the given text is called a tiling. In many applications finding exact repetitions is not sufficient, due to the presence of errors. In this paper, we use a new approach for handling errors in coverable phenomena and define the approximate cover problem (ACP), in which we are given a text that is a sequence of some cover repetitions with possible mismatch errors, and we seek a string that covers the text with the minimum number of errors. We first show that the ACP is NP-hard, by studying the cover-size relaxation of the ACP, in which the requested size of the approximate cover is also given with the input string. We show this relaxation is already NP-hard. We also study another two relaxations of the ACP, which we call the partial-tiling relaxation of the ACP and the full-tiling relaxation of the ACP, in which a tiling of the requested cover is also given with the input string. A given full tiling retains all the occurrences of the cover before the errors, while in a partial tiling there can be additional occurrences of the cover that are not marked by the tiling. We show that the partial-tiling relaxation has a polynomial time complexity and give experimental evidence that the full-tiling also has polynomial time complexity. The study of these relaxations, besides shedding another light on the complexity of the ACP, also involves a deep understanding of the properties of covers, yielding some key lemmas and observations that may be helpful for a future study of regularities in the presence of errors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication28th Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Pattern Matching, CPM 2017
EditorsJakub Radoszewski, Juha Karkkainen, Jakub Radoszewski, Wojciech Rytter
PublisherSchloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz-Zentrum fur Informatik GmbH, Dagstuhl Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783959770392
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Event28th Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Pattern Matching, CPM 2017 - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 4 Jul 20176 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameLeibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs
ISSN (Print)1868-8969


Conference28th Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Pattern Matching, CPM 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Amihood Amir, Avivit Levy, Ronit Lubin, and Ely Porat.


  • Approximate cover
  • Cover
  • Periodicity
  • Quasi-periodicity


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