A Linear-Time n0.4-Approximation for Longest Common Subsequence

Karl Bringmann, Vincent Cohen-Addad, Debarati Das

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We consider the classic problem of computing the Longest Common Subsequence (LCS) of two strings of length n. The 40-year-old quadratic-time dynamic programming algorithm has recently been shown to be near-optimal by Abboud, Backurs, and Vassilevska Williams [FOCS'15] and Bringmann and Künnemann [FOCS'15] assuming the Strong Exponential Time Hypothesis. This has led the community to look for subquadratic approximation algorithms for the problem.Yet, unlike the edit distance problem for which a constant-factor approximation in almost-linear time is known, very little progress has been made on LCS, making it a notoriously difficult problem also in the realm of approximation. For the general setting, only a naive O(nI/2-approximation algorithm with running time OŠ(n2-I has been known, for any constant 0 < I ≤ 1. Recently, a breakthrough result by Hajiaghayi, Seddighin, Seddighin, and Sun [SODA'19] provided a linear-time algorithm that yields a O(n0.497956-approximation in expectation; improving upon the naive -approximation for the first time.In this paper, we provide an algorithm that in time O(n2-I) computes an OŠ(n2/5-approximation with high probability, for any 0 < I ≤ 1. Our result (1) gives an OŠ(n0.4-approximation in linear time, improving upon the bound of Hajiaghayi, Seddighin, Seddighin, and Sun, (2) provides an algorithm whose approximation scales with any subquadratic running time O(n2-I), improving upon the naive bound of O(nI/2) for any I, and (3) instead of only in expectation, succeeds with high probability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3568398
JournalACM Transactions on Algorithms
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 20 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)

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