Homework 1 Solution


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In this homework, we are going to learn about how search engines such as Google do their searches really fast. These search engines search hundreds of millions web pages to see if they have the words that you have typed, and they can do this for thousands of users at a given time. In order to do these searches really fast, search engines such as Google do a lot of what we call preprocessing of the pages they search; that is, they transform the contents of a web page (which for the purposes of this homework, we will assume to consist of only strings) into a structure that can be searched very fast. Here is the basic idea:

Let us assume we have millions of documents, D1; D2; : : : D19234678; : : :, each consist-ing of hundreds or thousands of words. We identify each document by its number, e.g., 1, 2, . . . 19234678, . . . .

Since almost all the time these documents contain material in a human language, many words (such as the, or geliyor) most likely appear in many of the documents in a given language. Some words such as the or bir appear in perhaps all documents in a given language, while words such as Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch1 or esneyemeyense2 appear in relatively few documents.

For each unique word, we construct a linked list of document numbers representing the set of documents that word appears in. We ignore details such as how many times a word appears in that document or where in the document it appears in, etc.

1Which is the name of a town in Wales, Great Britain.

2Which happens to be the longest palindromic Turkish word.


Figure 1: Conceptual layout of the sample database

For instance if the word Sabanci appears in documents D2; D4; D6, we associate the list (2, 4, 6) with the string Sabanci. So, preprocessing involves nding ALL unique words AND creating a list of ALL documents numbers for the documents that contain that word somewhere.

Once we nish preprocessing, we are ready to answer queries. Suppose we want to nd all documents that contain the words Sabanci and University. We rst identify the list of documents containing Sabanci and then identify the list of docu-ments containing University and then intersect these, to get the list of documents containing both strings, and return the documents corresponding to these results as the answer. Of course, if you have more keywords, you keep on intersecting the result of the rst intersection with the list for the third keyword, etc.

Here is how we expect you to attack this problem:

Our main database of strings will be implemented as a list.3 Each object we store in that list will be a pair of strings and their associated document lists. If in addi-tion, University appears in documents D3; D6; D9; D12, and bilgisayar appears in documents D6; D9; D17; D21, our database will conceptually look like Figure 1.

You should see that we use lists for two purposes: we use lists to store the list of documents associated with each string and we use lists to store the string-document

3As we will see later in the course, this is NOT the fastest method to implement this database.


list pairs. You may want to make sure that that list sorted based on the string values. It is also important that the list containing the document numbers associated with a string, is sorted in ascending order of the documents numbers.

When you are given a query – a series of words – you search the database to locate the list nodes containing the words, and then retrieve their associated document lists and then intersect them.

Your task for this homework involves the following:

You should supplement the basic list class with any additional functionality you feel you need. For instance, you may add methods for intersecting two lists, reversing a list, or inserting an element to its right place in a sorted list, etc. You should also de ne a class to handle the pairs of strings and lists of integers. Make sure you have reasonable documentation that lets us gure out what you are doing. You are free to use any source code we discussed in class.

Your main program will read the database from a le called docdb.txt. Each line in this le will be a pair of string and a document number. For instance for the database above, the input le may look like.

computer 21 Sabanci 4 Sabanci 6 University 6 University 12 computer 17 University 3 computer 9 computer 6 Sabanci 2 University 9

Obviously any permutation of the lines above constitutes a valid database le for the data above. If some line is mistakenly repeated in the le you should ignore that line.

You will then read query strings from the standard input. To simplify matters, each query will consist of a positive number and that many strings. For instance the query

3 Sabanci University computer

asks for all documents numbers containing the strings Sabanci, University and com-puter.

If the number you read is 0, then the program should terminate without reading any further strings.


The output for a query should consists of a line containing the query strings in the order given in the input, followed the number of documents found and then the matching document numbers in increasing order. There should be exactly 1 space between the strings and numbers in the output. For instance, for the query above the output will be

Sabanci University computer 1 6

indicating that there is only one document { document 6 { that has all the three strings.

If however you have a query like 1 microelectronics

your output will microelectronics 0

Indicating that there are 0 documents matching.

Your code should be submitted to SUCourse at the deadline given on the rst page. You should follow the following steps:

name the folder containing your source les as XXXX-NameLastname where XXXX is your student number. For instance if your student number is 5432 and your name is Ali Mehmetoglu, the folder will be named 5432-AliMehmetoglu. Make sure you do NOT use any Turkish characters in the folder name. You should remove any folders containing executables (Debug or Release), since they take up too much space.

Compress your folder to a compressed le named 5432-AliMehmetoglu.zip. After you compress, please make sure it uncompresses properly.

You then submit this compressed le in accordance with the deadlines above.

If the le you submitted is not labeled properly as above, if it does not uncompress, if the source code does not compile and if it does not work for the input we will use, as speci ed, we regretfully will have to give you 0 credit for the homework. So please make sure all these steps work properly.


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