bioinformatics chat

Suffix arrays in optimal compressed space and δ-SA with Tomasz Kociumaka and Dominik Kempa (#69)

September 29, 2023

Today on the podcast we have Tomasz Kociumaka and Dominik Kempa, the authors of the preprint Collapsing the Hierarchy of Compressed Data Structures: Suffix Arrays in Optimal Compressed Space.

The suffix array is one of the foundational data structures in bioinformatics, serving as an index that allows fast substring searches in a large text. However, in its raw form, the suffix array occupies the space proportional to (and several times larger than) the original text.

In their paper, Tomasz and Dominik construct a new index, δ-SA, which on the one hand can be used in the same way (answer the same queries) as the suffix array and the inverse suffix array, and on the other hand, occupies the space roughly proportional to the gzip’ed text (or, more precisely, to the measure δ that they define — hence the name).

Moreover, they mathematically prove that this index is optimal, in the sense that any index that supports these queries — or even much weaker queries, such as simply accessing the i-th character of the text — cannot be significantly smaller (as a function of δ) than δ-SA.


Thank you to Jake Yeung and other Patreon members for supporting this episode.

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