# Leetcode 4sum problem using hashmaps

4sum problem

Given an array S of n integers, are there elements a, b, c, and d in S such that a + b + c + d = target? Find all unique quadruplets in the array which gives the sum of target.

Note: The solution set must not contain duplicate quadruplets.

Idea is to put all the pair sums a in hashmap along with corresponding indexes and once done check if -a is also present in the hashmap. If both a and -a is present and since the question is looking for unique quadruplets then we can just filter out with indexes.

class Solution(object):
def fourSum(self, arr, target):
seen = {}
for i in range(len(arr)-1):
for j in range(i+1, len(arr)):
if arr[i]+arr[j] in seen:
else:
seen[arr[i]+arr[j]] = {(i,j)}
result = []
for key in seen:
if -key + target in seen:
for (i,j) in seen[key]:
for (p,q) in seen[-key + target]:
sorted_index = sorted([arr[i], arr[j], arr[p], arr[q]])
if i not in (p, q) and j not in (p, q) and sorted_index not in result:
result.append(sorted_index)
return result


• Use enumerate rather than range(len(...)) + __getitem__. It is both faster and more readable.
• To limit items of the second iteration to be "after the current item" you can use itertools.combinations.
• To avoid the need to check for the special case of "is the item already in the dictionary?", use a collections.defaultdict.
• You could use a set rather than a list to store the final results and remove yourself the need to check for duplicates
• -key + target is better written as target - key

import itertools
from collections import defaultdict

def four_sum(array, target):
seen = defaultdict(set)
for (i, first), (j, second) in itertools.combinations(enumerate(array), 2):

result = set()
for key, first_indices in seen.items():
second_indices = seen.get(target - key, set())
for p, q in second_indices:
for i, j in first_indices:
# Not reusing the same number twice
if not ({i, j} & {p, q}):
indices = tuple(sorted(array[x] for x in (i, j, p, q)))
return result

• Yours is actually slower compared to OP's on leetcode, I must agree it is more readable though. Yours: 335ms OP: 239ms. It must return a list, so I've changed it a bit, but still didn;t really expect that. :) – Ludisposed Nov 27 '17 at 9:51
• Note: The solution set must not contain duplicate quadruplets. Yeah, online judges and their requirements matching their specs… – 301_Moved_Permanently Nov 27 '17 at 9:53

## Implementation

• why not build result with condition i < j < p < q?

## Algorithm

• code builds hash map as combination of all indexes from nums. Combination of all unique values from nums (or index or unique values) is better choice. Case: fourSum([0 for x in range(n)], 0)
• code builds hash map with integers from nums which can't be added to result. Case: fourSum([x for x in range(1, n, 1)], 0)
• code check if for key from hash map also target - key exists in final loop, can earlier. Case: fourSum([x for x in range(0, n*10, 10)], n*5+1)
• You can split hash map for two parts: a,b and c,d pair. Don't change complexity of hash map, but final loop: 1/2 * 1/2 faster

## Speedup

• best: algorithm (big O notation), e.g. reduce O(n^2) memory to O(n)
• sometimes good: algorithm constants, e.g. split hash map for first and second pair
• bad: dirty, low-level language speed-up constants, e.g. replace itertools.combinations with directly loops. This is anti-pattern. Reasons: less understandable, maintainable, changeable and paradoxically slower. Slower because bottlenecks are usually caused by cascade several algorithms, e.g. O(n^3) * O(n^3). With clean code easier reduce problem to O(n^5) or less. With dirty code usually at the end we get O(n^6) with small const

## Code (the same O(n^2) mem)

from itertools import combinations
from collections import defaultdict, Counter

def fourSum(self, nums, target):
if len(nums) < 4:
return []
half_target = target // 2
counter = Counter(nums)
uniques_wide = sorted(counter)
x_min, x_max = target - 3 * uniques_wide[-1], target - 3 * uniques_wide # bad
uniques = [ x for x in uniques_wide if x_min <= x <= x_max ]
duplicates = [x for x in uniques if counter[x] > 1]

target_minus_xy_sums = set(target - x - y for x, y in combinations(uniques, 2))
target_minus_xy_sums |= set(target - x - x for x in duplicates)

ab_sum_pairs, cd_sum_pairs = defaultdict(list), defaultdict(list)
for (x, y) in combinations(uniques, 2):
if x + y in target_minus_xy_sums:
if x + y <= half_target:
ab_sum_pairs[x + y].append((x, y))
if x + y >= half_target:
cd_sum_pairs[x + y].append((x, y))
for x in duplicates:
if x + x in target_minus_xy_sums:
if x + x <= half_target:
ab_sum_pairs[x + x].append((x, x))
if x + x >= half_target:
cd_sum_pairs[x + x].append((x, x))

return [[a, b, c, d]
for ab in ab_sum_pairs
for (a, b) in ab_sum_pairs[ab]
for (c, d) in cd_sum_pairs[target - ab]
if b < c or b == c and [a, b, c, d].count(b) <= counter[b]] # if bi < ci