The String-to-String Correction Problem

Robert A. Wagner, Michael J. Fischer

Robert A. Wagner, Michael J. Fischer, The String-to-String Correction Problem, Journal of the ACM, 21(1):168-173, January 1974.

The string-to-string correction problem is to determine the distance between two strings as measured by the minimum cost sequence of "edit operations" needed to change the one string into the other. The edit operations investigated allow changing one symbol of a string into another single symbol, deleting one symbol from a string, or inserting a single symbol into a string. An algorithm is presented which solves this problem in time proportional to the product of the lengths of the two strings. Possible applications are to the problems of automatic spelling correction and determining the longest subsequence of characters common to two strings.


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