Scala algorithm: Run-length encoding (RLE) Encoder

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Algorithm goal

Run-length encoding is one of the most basic compression methods, which is especially useful where there long runs of a particular character or a group of characters. It could be particularly useful for example in column-based databases which have potentially many repeating values.

Run-length turns a sequence of characters into effectively a sequence of count-character pairs. For example, WWWAAW becomes 3W2A1W.

This algorithm performs the Encoding part; see RunLengthEncodingDecoder for the Decoding part.

Test cases in Scala

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Algorithm in Scala

28 lines of Scala (compatible versions 2.13 & 3.0), showing how concise Scala can be!

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Explanation

There is a Tail Recursion approach that can be taken; while more obvious to implement, it has two disadvantages:

  • It is more complex to read and reason about
  • It it is not possible to make it work in a streaming fashion (because who wants to run out of memory?).

We present an immutable collection-based approach that only relies on plain and lazy transformations without worrying about index accessesand is also very efficient through the use of View, and because of that, is very easy to adapt to Streamed approaches. (this is © from www.scala-algorithms.com)

There are 2 stages to consider: computing the cumulative counts of each character (WWWAAW -> 1 -> W, 2 -> W, 3 -> W, 1 -> A, 2 -> A, 1 -> W), and then detecting transitions between the characters (we only emit a record once we have reached the maximum count, and we reach that when a different character is reached). Typically when dealing with transitions, consider the Sliding / Sliding Window concept.

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Scala concepts & Hints

  1. Collect

    'collect' allows you to use Pattern Matching, to filter and map items.

    assert("Hello World".collect {
      case character if Character.isUpperCase(character) => character.toLower
    } == "hw")
    
  2. Option Type

    The 'Option' type is used to describe a computation that either has a result or does not. In Scala, you can 'chain' Option processing, combine with lists and other data structures. For example, you can also turn a pattern-match into a function that return an Option, and vice-versa!

    assert(Option(1).flatMap(x => Option(x + 2)) == Option(3))
    
    assert(Option(1).flatMap(x => None) == None)
    
  3. Pattern Matching

    Pattern matching in Scala lets you quickly identify what you are looking for in a data, and also extract it.

    assert("Hello World".collect {
      case character if Character.isUpperCase(character) => character.toLower
    } == "hw")
    
  4. scanLeft and scanRight

    Scala's `scan` functions enable you to do folds like foldLeft and foldRight, while collecting the intermediate results

    assert(List(1, 2, 3, 4, 5).scanLeft(0)(_ + _) == List(0, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15))
    
  5. Sliding / Sliding Window

    Get fixed-length sliding sub-sequences (sliding windows) from another sequence

  6. Stack Safety

    Stack safety is present where a function cannot crash due to overflowing the limit of number of recursive calls.

    This function will work for n = 5, but will not work for n = 2000 (crash with java.lang.StackOverflowError) - however there is a way to fix it :-)

    In Scala Algorithms, we try to write the algorithms in a stack-safe way, where possible, so that when you use the algorithms, they will not crash on large inputs. However, stack-safe implementations are often more complex, and in some cases, overly complex, for the task at hand.

    def sum(from: Int, until: Int): Int =
      if (from == until) until else from + sum(from + 1, until)
    
    def thisWillSucceed: Int = sum(1, 5)
    
    def thisWillFail: Int = sum(1, 300)
    
  7. View

    The .view syntax creates a structure that mirrors another structure, until "forced" by an eager operation like .toList, .foreach, .forall, .count.


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Fully unit-tested, with explanations and relevant concepts; new algorithms published about once a week.

  1. Compute the length of longest valid parentheses
  2. Check a binary tree is balanced
  3. Make a queue using stacks (Lists in Scala)
  4. Find height of binary tree
  5. Single-elimination tournament tree
  6. Quick Sort sorting algorithm in pure immutable Scala
  7. Find minimum missing positive number in a sequence
  8. Least-recently used cache (LRU)
  9. Count pairs of a given expected sum
  10. Compute a Roman numeral for an Integer, and vice-versa
  11. Compute keypad possibilities
  12. Matching parentheses algorithm with foldLeft and a state machine
  13. Traverse a tree Breadth-First, immutably
  14. Read a matrix as a spiral
  15. Remove duplicates from a sorted list (state machine)
  16. Merge Sort: stack-safe, tail-recursive, in pure immutable Scala, N-way
  17. Longest increasing sub-sequence length
  18. Reverse first n elements of a queue
  19. Binary search a generic Array
  20. Merge Sort: in pure immutable Scala
  21. Make a queue using Maps
  22. Is an Array a permutation?
  23. Count number of contiguous countries by colors
  24. Add numbers without using addition (plus sign)
  25. Tic Tac Toe MinMax solve
  26. Run-length encoding (RLE) Encoder
  27. Print Alphabet Diamond
  28. Balanced parentheses algorithm with tail-call recursion optimisation
  29. Reverse a String's words efficiently
  30. Count number of changes (manipulations) needed to make an anagram with foldLeft and a MultiSet
  31. Count passing cars
  32. Establish execution order from dependencies
  33. Counting inversions of a sequence (array) using a Merge Sort
  34. Longest common prefix of strings
  35. Check if an array is a palindrome
  36. Check a directed graph has a routing between two nodes (depth-first search)
  37. Compute nth row of Pascal's triangle
  38. Run-length encoding (RLE) Decoder
  39. Check if a number is a palindrome
  40. In a range of numbers, count the numbers divisible by a specific integer
  41. Find the index of a substring ('indexOf')
  42. Reshape a matrix
  43. Compute modulo of an exponent without exponentiation
  44. Closest pair of coordinates in a 2D plane
  45. Find the contiguous slice with the minimum average
  46. Compute maximum sum of subarray (Kadane's algorithm)
  47. Pure-functional double linked list
  48. Binary search in a rotated sorted array
  49. Check if a directed graph has cycles
  50. Rotate Array right in pure-functional Scala - using an unusual immutable efficient approach
  51. Check a binary tree is a search tree
  52. Length of the longest common substring
  53. Tic Tac Toe board check
  54. Find an unpaired number in an array
  55. Check if a String is a palindrome
  56. Count binary gap size of a number using tail recursion
  57. Remove duplicates from a sorted list (Sliding)
  58. Monitor success rate of a process that may fail
  59. Find sub-array with the maximum sum
  60. Find the minimum absolute difference of two partitions
  61. Find maximum potential profit from an array of stock price
  62. Fibonacci in purely functional immutable Scala
  63. Fizz Buzz in purely functional immutable Scala
  64. Find combinations adding up to N (non-unique)
  65. Make a binary search tree (Red-Black tree)
  66. Remove duplicates from an unsorted List
  67. Find combinations adding up to N (unique)
  68. Count factors/divisors of an integer
  69. Compute single-digit sum of digits
  70. Traverse a tree Depth-First
  71. Reverse bits of an integer
  72. Find k closest elements to a value in a sorted Array
  73. QuickSelect Selection Algorithm (kth smallest item/order statistic)
  74. Rotate a matrix by 90 degrees clockwise

Explore the 21 most useful Scala concepts

To save you going through various tutorials, we cherry-picked the most useful Scala concepts in a consistent form.

  1. Class Inside Class
  2. Class Inside Def
  3. Collect
  4. Def Inside Def
  5. Drop, Take, dropRight, takeRight
  6. foldLeft and foldRight
  7. For-comprehension
  8. Lazy List
  9. Option Type
  10. Ordering
  11. Partial Function
  12. Pattern Matching
  13. Range
  14. scanLeft and scanRight
  15. Sliding / Sliding Window
  16. Stack Safety
  17. State machine
  18. Tail Recursion
  19. Type Class
  20. View
  21. Zip

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