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# lect0914 - Lecture 7 Amortized Analysis 7.1 Overview In...

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Lecture 7 Amortized Analysis 7.1 Overview In this lecture we discuss a useful form of analysis, called amortized analysis , for problems in which one must perform a series of operations, and our goal is to analyze the time per operation. The motivation for amortized analysis is that looking at the worst-case time per operation can be too pessimistic if the only way to produce an expensive operation is to “set it up” with a large number of cheap operations beforehand. We also introduce the notion of a potential function which can be a useful aid to performing this type of analysis. A potential function is much like a bank account: if we can take our cheap operations (those whose cost is less than our bound) and put our savings from them in a bank account, use our savings to pay for expensive operations (those whose cost is greater than our bound), and somehow guarantee that our account will never go negative, then we will have proven an amortized bound for our procedure. As in the previous lecture, in this lecture we will avoid use of asymptotic notation as much as possible, and focus instead on concrete cost models and bounds. 7.2 Introduction So far we have been looking at static problems where you are given an input (like an array of n objects) and the goal is to produce an output with some desired property (e.g., the same objects, but sorted). For next few lectures, we’re going to turn to problems where we have a series of operations, and goal is to analyze the time taken per operation. For example, rather than being given a set of n items up front, we might have a series of n insert , lookup , and remove requests to some database, and we want these operations to be efficient. Today, we will talk about a useful kind of analysis, called amortized analysis for problems of this sort. The definition of amortized cost is actually quite simple: Definition 7.1 The amortized cost per operation for a sequence of n operations is the total cost of the operations divided by n . For example, if we have 100 operations at cost 1, followed by one operation at cost 100, the 35

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7.3. EXAMPLE #1: IMPLEMENTING A STACK AS AN ARRAY 36 amortized cost per operation is 200 / 101 < 2. The reason for considering amortized cost is that we will be interested in data structures that occasionally can incur a large cost as they perform some kind of rebalancing or improvement of their internal state, but where such operations cannot occur too frequently. In this case, amortized analysis can give a much tighter bound on the true cost of using the data structure than a standard worst-case-per-operation bound. Note that even though the definition of amortized cost is simple, analyzing it will often require some thought. We will illustrate how this can be done through several examples.
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lect0914 - Lecture 7 Amortized Analysis 7.1 Overview In...

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