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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Common phrases and minimum-space text storage


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A method for saving storage space for text strings, such as compiler diagnostic messages, is described. The method relies on hand selection of a set of text strings which are common to one or more messages. These phrases are then stored only once. The storage technique gives rise to a mathematical optimization problem: determine how each message should use the available phrases to minimize its storage requirement. This problem is nontrivial when phrases which overlap exist. However, a dynamic programming algorithm is presented which solves the problem in time which grows linearly with the number of characters in the text. Algorithm 444 applies to this paper.

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