Concept

Sardinas–Patterson algorithm

Summary
In coding theory, the Sardinas–Patterson algorithm is a classical algorithm for determining in polynomial time whether a given variable-length code is uniquely decodable, named after August Albert Sardinas and George W. Patterson, who published it in 1953. The algorithm carries out a systematic search for a string which admits two different decompositions into codewords. As Knuth reports, the algorithm was rediscovered about ten years later in 1963 by Floyd, despite the fact that it was at the time already well known in coding theory. Idea of the algorithm Consider the code {, a \mapsto 1, b \mapsto 011, c\mapsto 01110, d\mapsto 1110, e\mapsto 10011,}. This code, which is based on an example by Berstel, is an example of a code which is not uniquely decodable, since the string :011101110011 can be interpreted as the sequence of codewords :01110 – 1110 – 011, but also as the sequence of codewords :011 – 1 – 011 – 10011. Two possible decodings of this en
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