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Problem Statement -

Problem Statement

Given a 2xN grid of numbers, the task is to find the most profitable tiling combination (each tile covers 2x1 cells; vertically or horizontally) covering all tiles.

I thought of approaching it in the greedy way, enqueuing the max possible for any cell, but it has a fallback that a low-profit choice at i, could yield a greater profit at i+n tiles.

So what should be the approach?

EDIT - Test Data Range - N<=105

Source - INOI 2008 Q Paper

UPDATE - Working out the plausibility of a Dynamic programming Approach.

UPDATE 2 - Worked out an answer using DP.

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@Dennis Test Data Range is N<=10^5. Brute-force, would be the last-resort. Still, I'd be interested in knowing a better approach... –  7Aces Dec 24 '12 at 11:11
Deleted my previous comment, are you interested in finding the best solution only, or in finding a good solution in a reasonable time (thus resort to heuristics)? –  Dennis Jaheruddin Dec 24 '12 at 11:15
@Dennis The Q demands the best solution in the least time. –  7Aces Dec 24 '12 at 11:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Worked out a Dynamic Programming Approach to the problem -

int t[n][2]; //Stores grid values
int b[n]; //Stores best solution upto a particular column
b[0]= t[0][1]-t[0][0]; //Compute score for first column (Absolute Value)
b[1]= Max (b[0] + Score for column 1 vertically, Score for first 2 horizontal columns);
for i=0...n 
  b[i]= Max ( b[i-1] + Score for column i vertically, b[i-2] + Score for horizontal columns i & i-1);
print b[n-1];

Works efficiently on the given data set, with a linear time complexity!

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+1 Excellent solution and question. Any reasons why you feel Dynamic Programming Approach was appropriate? Is this possible with brute force and if so how would it compare performance wise? –  maple_shaft Dec 24 '12 at 13:12
Note that the performance may be improved if you also run it on the reversed/rotated version of your testset. @maple_shaft Given the size of the testset brute force would probably not be possible. –  Dennis Jaheruddin Dec 27 '12 at 9:00

Here is one way to approach/describe the problem:

When looking at the 2xN grid, you can see that any tiling is uniquely defined in the following way:

For the most left block, see if it is horizontal or vertical. Then look at the next block.

Suppose 2 stands for horizontal and 1 stands for vertical your Tiling 1 can be written as: 121 whilst Tiling 2 can be written as 22

Given each vector, calculating the total cost should be straightforward.

Now you can use this algorithm:

  1. Find a starting position (probably your own algorithm can do the trick here)
  2. Given a window length (say 5) try all combinations of ones and zeros within the window and calculate what the maximum improvement is.
  3. Optional: Execute this improvement
  4. Shift the window, so instead of looking at the first 5 odd columns now look at odd column 2 to 6
  5. If you are not yet at the end, go to step 2, else execute the improvement.
  6. Optional: If you found any improvements, you can go to step 1
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