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This is a programming question from LeetCode:

Given a string s, return the longest palindromic substring in s.

Example 1:

Input: s = "babad" Output: "bab" Note: "aba" is also a valid answer.

Below is my code that fails the following input because of "Time Limit Exceeded":

"glwhcebdjbdroiurzfxxrbhzibilmcfasshhtyngwrsnbdpzgjphujzuawbebyhvxfhtoozcitaqibvvowyluvdbvoqikgojxcefzpdgahujuxpiclrrmalncdrotsgkpnfyujgvmhydrzdpiudkfchtklsaprptkzhwxsgafsvkahkbsighlyhjvbburdfjdfvjbaiivqxdqwivsjzztzkzygcsyxlvvwlckbsmvwjvrhvqfewjxgefeowfhrcturolvfgxilqdqvitbcebuooclugypurlsbdfquzsqngbscqwlrdpxeahricvtfqpnrfwbyjvahrtosovsbzhxtutyfjwjbpkfujeoueykmbcjtluuxvmffwgqjgrtsxtdimsescgahnudmsmyfijtfrcbkibbypenxnpiozzrnljazjgrftitldcueswqitrcvjzvlhionutppppzxoepvtzhkzjetpfqsuirdcyqfjsqhdewswldawhdyijhpqtrwgyfmmyhhkrafisicstqxokdmynnnqxaekzcgygsuzfiguujyxowqdfylesbzhnpznayzlinerzdqjrylyfzndgqokovabhzuskwozuxcsmyclvfwkbimhkdmjacesnvorrrvdwcgfewchbsyzrkktsjxgyybgwbvktvxyurufsrdufcunnfswqddukqrxyrueienhccpeuqbkbumlpxnudmwqdkzvsqsozkifpznwapxaxdclxjxuciyulsbxvwdoiolgxkhlrytiwrpvtjdwsssahupoyyjveedgqsthefdyxvjweaimadykubntfqcpbjyqbtnunuxzyytxfedrycsdhkfymaykeubowvkszzwmbbjezrphqildkmllskfawmcohdqalgccffxursvbyikjoglnillapcbcjuhaxukfhalcslemluvornmijbeawxzokgnlzugxkshrpojrwaasgfmjvkghpdyxt"

class Solution(object):

    def longestPalindrome(self, s):
        """
        :type s: str
        :rtype: str
        """
        if len(s) == 0:
            return None
        if len(s) == 1:
            return s

        P = [[False]*len(s) for i in range(len(s))]

        for i in range(len(s)):
            P[i][i]   = True

        for i in range(len(s)-1):
            P[i][i+1] = (s[i]==s[i+1])

        for s_len in range(3,len(s)+1):
            for i in range(len(s)+1-s_len):
                P[i][i+s_len-1] = P[i+1][i+s_len-2] and (s[i]==s[i+s_len-1])

        ip = 0
        jp = 0
        max_len = 1

        for i in range(len(s)):
            for j in range(len(s)):
                if P[i][j] and j+1-i > max_len:
                    max_len = j+1-i
                    ip = i
                    jp = j 
                    continue

        return s[ip:jp+1]

I was trying to follow the following approach described in the site solution. Could anyone help to see how to make my code more efficient?


enter image description here

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Would you like to see other solutions too? \$\endgroup\$ – Parekh Nov 1 '20 at 3:20
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Disclaimer: Not a Code Reviewer

Here are some short comments though:

  • You're looping though twice.
  • That'd make it brute force.
  • Brute force does usually fail for some medium and hard questions on LeetCode.

Alternative Solution

  • Here we'd loop through once:
class Solution:
    def longestPalindrome(self, s):
        if len(s) < 1:
            return s

        def isPalindrome(left, right):
            return s[left:right] == s[left:right][::-1]

        left, right = 0, 1
        for index in range(1, len(s)):
            if index - right > 0 and isPalindrome(index - right - 1, index + 1):
                left, right = index - right - 1, right + 2
            if index - right >= 0 and isPalindrome(index - right, index + 1):
                left, right = index - right, right + 1
        return s[left: left + right]

enter image description here

Your Solution

  • I just tested your solution (marginally passes):
class Solution(object):

    def longestPalindrome(self, s):
        """
        :type s: str
        :rtype: str
        """
        if len(s) < 1:
            return s

        P = [[False] * len(s) for i in range(len(s))]

        for i in range(len(s)):
            P[i][i] = True

        for i in range(len(s) - 1):
            P[i][i + 1] = (s[i] == s[i + 1])

        for s_len in range(3, len(s) + 1):
            for i in range(len(s) + 1 - s_len):
                P[i][i + s_len - 1] = P[i + 1][i + s_len - 2] and (s[i] == s[i + s_len - 1])

        ip = 0
        jp = 0
        max_len = 1

        for i in range(len(s)):
            for j in range(len(s)):
                if P[i][j] and j + 1 - i > max_len:
                    max_len = j + 1 - i
                    ip = i
                    jp = j
                    continue

        return s[ip:jp + 1]

enter image description here

  • Since the runtimes is high, it's possible that it would fail sometimes.

  • I guess LeetCode has a time limit for each problem, maybe 10 seconds would be the limit for this specific problem.

  • Probably based on the geolocation/time, the runtime would be different also.


Just a bit more optimization:

  • Please see this line for j in range(i + 1, len(s))::
class Solution(object):

    def longestPalindrome(self, s):
        """
        :type s: str
        :rtype: str
        """
        if len(s) < 1:
            return s

        P = [[False] * len(s) for _ in range(len(s))]

        for i in range(len(s)):
            P[i][i] = True

        for i in range(len(s) - 1):
            P[i][i + 1] = (s[i] == s[i + 1])

        for s_len in range(3, len(s) + 1):
            for i in range(len(s) + 1 - s_len):
                P[i][i + s_len - 1] = P[i + 1][i + s_len - 2] and (s[i] == s[i + s_len - 1])

        ip = 0
        jp = 0
        max_len = 1

        for i in range(len(s)):
            for j in range(i + 1, len(s)):
                if P[i][j] and j + 1 - i > max_len:
                    max_len = j + 1 - i
                    ip = i
                    jp = j
                    continue

        return s[ip:jp + 1]

enter image description here

  • It reduces about 1 second but still not good.

  • I'm sure there are more ways to optimize.

  • Wait a bit! There are good Python reviewers here. Would likely help you out.


With some comments:

class Solution:
    def longestPalindrome(self, s):
        if len(s) < 1:
            return s

        def isPalindrome(left, right):
            return s[left:right] == s[left:right][::-1]

        # We set the left pointer on the first index
        # We set the right pointer on the second index
        # That's the minimum true palindrome
        left, right = 0, 1

        # We visit the alphabets from the second index forward once
        for index in range(1, len(s)):
            # Here we move the right pointer twice and once checking for palindromeness
            # We boundary check using index - right, to remain positive
            if index - right > 0 and isPalindrome(index - right - 1, index + 1):
                print(f"Step {index - 1}: Left pointer is at {index - right - 1} and Right pointer is at {index + 1}")
                print(f"Palindromeness start: {index - right - 1} - Palindromeness end: {index + 1}")
                print(f"Window length: {right}")
                print(f"Before: Left is {left} and Right is {left + right}")
                left, right = index - right - 1, right + 2
                print(f"After: Left is {left} and Right is {left + right}")
                print(f"String: {s[left: left + right]}")
                print('#' * 50)
            if index - right >= 0 and isPalindrome(index - right, index + 1):
                print(f"Step {index - 1}: Left pointer is at {index - right} and Right pointer is at {index + 1}")
                print(f"Palindromeness start: {index - right - 1} - Palindromeness end: {index + 1}")
                print(f"Window length: {right + 1}")
                print(f"Before: Left is {left} and Right is {left + right}")
                left, right = index - right, right + 1
                print(f"After: Left is {left} and Right is {left + right}")
                print(f"String: {s[left: left + right]}")
                print('#' * 50)
        return s[left: left + right]


Solution().longestPalindrome("glwhcebdjbdroiurzfxxrbhzibilmcfasshhtyngwrsnbdpzgjphujzuawbebyhvxfhtoozcitaqibvvowyluvdbvoqikgojxcefzpdgahujuxpiclrrmalncdrotsgkpnfyujgvmhydrzdpiudkfchtklsaprptkzhwxsgafsvkahkbsighlyhjvbburdfjdfvjbaiivqxdqwivsjzztzkzygcsyxlvvwlckbsmvwjvrhvqfewjxgefeowfhrcturolvfgxilqdqvitbcebuooclugypurlsbdfquzsqngbscqwlrdpxeahricvtfqpnrfwbyjvahrtosovsbzhxtutyfjwjbpkfujeoueykmbcjtluuxvmffwgqjgrtsxtdimsescgahnudmsmyfijtfrcbkibbypenxnpiozzrnljazjgrftitldcueswqitrcvjzvlhionutppppzxoepvtzhkzjetpfqsuirdcyqfjsqhdewswldawhdyijhpqtrwgyfmmyhhkrafisicstqxokdmynnnqxaekzcgygsuzfiguujyxowqdfylesbzhnpznayzlinerzdqjrylyfzndgqokovabhzuskwozuxcsmyclvfwkbimhkdmjacesnvorrrvdwcgfewchbsyzrkktsjxgyybgwbvktvxyurufsrdufcunnfswqddukqrxyrueienhccpeuqbkbumlpxnudmwqdkzvsqsozkifpznwapxaxdclxjxuciyulsbxvwdoiolgxkhlrytiwrpvtjdwsssahupoyyjveedgqsthefdyxvjweaimadykubntfqcpbjyqbtnunuxzyytxfedrycsdhkfymaykeubowvkszzwmbbjezrphqildkmllskfawmcohdqalgccffxursvbyikjoglnillapcbcjuhaxukfhalcslemluvornmijbeawxzokgnlzugxkshrpojrwaasgfmjvkghpdyxt")

Prints:

Step 18: Left pointer is at 18 and Right pointer is at 20
Palindromeness start: 17 - Palindromeness end: 20
Window length: 2
Before: Left is 0 and Right is 1
After: Left is 18 and Right is 20
String: xx
##################################################
Step 25: Left pointer is at 24 and Right pointer is at 27
Palindromeness start: 23 - Palindromeness end: 27
Window length: 3
Before: Left is 18 and Right is 20
After: Left is 24 and Right is 27
String: ibi
##################################################
Step 462: Left pointer is at 460 and Right pointer is at 464
Palindromeness start: 459 - Palindromeness end: 464
Window length: 4
Before: Left is 24 and Right is 27
After: Left is 460 and Right is 464
String: pppp
##################################################

Happy Coding! ( ˆ_ˆ )

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    \$\begingroup\$ better than 94%, that's nice! \$\endgroup\$ – Parekh Nov 1 '20 at 3:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I believe s[left:right][::-1] can also be s[right-1:left-1:-1]. I presume that would save a bit of time as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Teepeemm Nov 1 '20 at 13:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Emma I agree that s[left:right].reverse() would be different (and possibly nonsensical). I'm not seeing how reversing the slice at the same time as slicing would be different than slicing and then reversing. \$\endgroup\$ – Teepeemm Nov 1 '20 at 16:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Emma: +1. Many thanks for your insights. I'm still slowly reading your "Alternative Solution". That looks very smart. I have yet "decipher" the two "if" conditions. Could you say a few words about the underlying ideas? \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Nov 2 '20 at 21:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It is very interesting to see that my code could pass the tests in your snapshot. I have never seen it passed submitting it several times on my own. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Nov 2 '20 at 21:36

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