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Communications of the ACM

Latin America Regional Special Section: Hot Topics

Three Success Stories About Compact Data Structures

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Technology evolution is no longer keeping pace with the growth of data. We are facing problems storing and processing the huge amounts of data produced every day. People rely on data-intensive applications and new paradigms (for example, edge computing) to try to keep computation closer to where data is produced and needed. Thus, the need to store and query data in devices where capacity is surpassed by data volume is routine today, ranging from astronomy data to be processed by supercomputers, to personal data to be processed by wearable sensors. The scale is different, yet the underlying problem is the same.

Keeping data structures in fast memory has been the major workhorse of compact data structures (CDS), with enormous practical benefits, such as speeding up data processing and querying.10 This has situated CDS at the forefront of research in data structures over the last 20 years. Remarkable contributions have been made, many of them by Latin American researchers, forming an active and prolific community spread mainly over three Chilean universities, and branching from there to other universities in Chile and Latin America as well as to Europe, the U.S., Canada, East Asia, and Australia. The senior researcher at Universidad de Chile is Gonzalo Navarro; the groups at Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa María and Universidad de Concepción are integrated by Diego Arroyuelo, José Fuentes-Sepúlveda, and Diego Seco. Here, we describe three success stories with strong roots in the region.


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