Fixed-Parameter Algorithms for CLOSEST STRING and Related Problems
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- Gramm, Niedermeier & Rossmanith Algorithmica (2003) 37: 25. doi:10.1007/s00453-003-1028-3
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CLOSEST STRING is one of the core problems in the field of consensus word analysis with particular importance for computational biology. Given k strings of the same length and a nonnegative integer d , find a ``center string'' s such that none of the given strings has the Hamming distance greater than d from s . CLOSEST STRING is NP-complete. In biological applications, however, d is usually very small. We show how to solve CLOSEST STRING in linear time for fixed d —the exponential growth in d is bounded by O(dd) . We extend this result to the closely related problems d -MISMATCH and DISTINGUISHING STRING SELECTION. Moreover, we also show that CLOSEST STRING is solvable in linear time when k is fixed and d is arbitrary. In summary, this means that CLOSEST STRING is fixed-parameter tractable with respect to parameter d and with respect to parameter k . Finally, the practical usefulness of our findings is substantiated by some experimental results.