Reducing Splaying by Taking Advantage of Working Sets

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Access requests to keys stored into a data structure often exhibit locality of reference in practice. Such a regularity can be modeled, e.g., by working sets. In this paper we study to what extent can the existence of working sets be taken advantage of in splay trees. In order to reduce the number of costly splay operations we monitor for information on the current working set and its change. We introduce a simple algorithm which attempts to splay only when necessary. Under worst-case analysis the algorithm guarantees an amortized logarithmic bound. In empirical experiments it is 5% more efficient than randomized splay trees and at most 10% more efficient than the original splay tree. We also briefly analyze the usefulness of the commonly-used Zipf’s distribution as a general model of locality of reference.