KGP13C - Editorial

PROBLEM LINK:

Practice
Contest

Editorialist: Jingbo Shang

DIFFICULTY:

Easy-Medium

PREREQUISITES:

Dynamic Programming

PROBLEM:

Given a K-steps stair, try to merge some adjacent steps to get M-steps remained such that the total volume added is minimum.

EXPLANATION:

We can only merge consecutive steps in this problem. This gives us the intuition of dynamic programming.

Let’s denote the cost of merging steps in [L, R] as cost[L][R]. Clearly, we can brute-forcely build this array in O(K^3) time by definition, because K is only at most 500 here.

And let f[i][j] states the minimum cost of merging the first i steps into j steps. Then, we can try to deal with the problem using the following recursion.

f[i][j] = min { f[k][j - 1] + cost[k + 1][i] }  for all 0<= k < i.

Initially, by definition, we have

f[0][0] = 0, f[0][j > 0] = + infinite.

Therefore, we can solve this problem in O(K^3).

In fact, we can also further optimize this algorithm to O(K^2).

We can observe that cost[L][R] can be calculated by some values (e.g. prefix sum of heights, lengths, areas) of L and R separately. More specifically,

cost[L][R] = (SHeight[R] - SHeight[L - 1]) * (SLeng[R] - SLeng[L - 1]) - (SArea[R] - SArea[L - 1])

About the dynamic programming, we should observe that f[i][j] only depends on f[k < i][j - 1]. Furthermore, f[i][j] can be expressed in the minimum of Ak * f[k][j-1] + Bk. If we first loop over j and then enumerate i from small to large, due to the monotonic property of Ak, we can maintain a double-ended-queue of k ordered by the Ak (pop out the invalid k). Every k will enter or leave this queue at most once. Because we can then find the minimum in O(1) time, the total complexity is reduced to O(K^2).

//