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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Pairing heaps: experiments and analysis

The pairing heap has recently been introduced as a new data structure for priority queues. Pairing heaps are extremely simple to implement and seem to be very efficient in practice, but they are difficult to analyze theoretically, and open problems remain. It has been conjectured that they achieve the same amortized time bounds as Fibonacci heaps, namely, O(log n) time for delete and delete_min and O(1) for all other operations, where n is the size of the priority queue at the time of the operation. We provide empirical evidence that supports this conjecture. The most promising algorithm in our simulations is a new variant of the twopass method, called auxiliary twopass. We prove that, assuming no decrease_key operations are performed, it achieves the same amortized time bounds as Fibonacci heaps.

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