Encyclopedia of Algorithms

2016 Edition
| Editors: Ming-Yang Kao

Online List Update

  • Shahin Kamali
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2864-4_266

Years and Authors of Summarized Original Work

  • 1985; Sleator, Tarjan

Problem Definition

List update is one of the classic problems in the context of online computation. The main motivation for the study of the problem is self-adjusting lists. Consider a linear list which represents a dictionary abstract data type. There are three elementary operations in the dictionary, namely, insertion, deletion, and lookup (search). To perform these operations on an item x, an algorithm needs to search for x, i.e., examine the list items, one by one, to find x. For the case of an insertion, all items should be sequentially checked to ensure that the inserted item is not already in the list. A deletion also requires finding the item that is being deleted. In this manner, all operations can be translated into a sequence of lookups or accesses to the items in the list. To access an item at index i, an algorithm examines i items and therefore incurs an access cost of i. Immediately after the access, the...


Competitive analysis Data compression Online computation Self-adjusting lists 
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Recommended Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada