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# Easy and Efficient Programming for Contests

Efficient coding ensures that you complete a task in the smallest time interval possible without complicating your life too much. Now, you do not need to work like this for every little bit of code you type. This approach will be priceless, however, whenever time is of the essence, as it is for a programming contest.

Author Info:
By: Gabor Bernat
Rating:  / 9
July 07, 2009

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Easy and Efficient Programming for Contests - Exploiting the language's strengths
(Page 4 of 4 )

Now we already know that every language has its strengths and weaknesses. As for the C/C++ world, it is a known truth that bitwise operations are much faster than the usual ones known from math classes. Here I will present a method that uses this knowledge to work approximately four times faster than the ones presented in manuals.

The original idea came from Mihai Patrascu, and we are talking about binary search. This type of search will find an item inside a sorted array, taking advantage of the fact that the array is sorted. It will always split the array into two, determine in which part of it is our value, and repeat for that section the upper algorithm until it finds it. The algorithm I will present here will follow this idea, however, by comparing the values directly it will start to determine bit by bit the queried value:

#include "stdio.h"

#include "stdlib.h"

int length;

int *array;

int binary_search(int value)

{

int i, step;

for (step = 1; step < length; step <<= 1);

for (i = 0; step; step >>= 1)

if (i + step < length && array[i + step] <= value)

i += step;

return i;

}

During the first step it determines how many moves it needs to make, or in more common language, calculates log 2 length. In the second step, it takes the route back and adjusts “i” until it finds the element.

For now we will take a break so you can digest what I've presented here so far. I leave you with the promise that next week I will finish up this series of articles with the fourth part.

Moreover, until then I also invite you to share your thought either here on the article's blog or in the forums for DevArticles and DevHardware . Joining costs nothing except a little time from you, and you will enter a community with which you can talk about your problems. Feel free to act. Until next time, Live With Passion!

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