5 Best Ways to Find Maximum Number of Balanced Groups of Parentheses in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: This article discusses various Python methods to determine the maximum number of balanced groups of parentheses within a given string. For instance, given the string “(()())”, the desired output is one, representing the single completely balanced group of parentheses.

Method 1: Iterative Counting

This method uses iteration to track the balance of parentheses and count the number of valid groups. It requires a string input and will output an integer representing the number of balanced groups found. The method incrementally builds counts by confirming if every opened parenthesis is properly closed.

Here’s an example:

def count_balanced_groups(s):
    balance = group_count = 0
    for char in s:
        if char == '(':
            balance += 1
        elif char == ')':
            balance -= 1
            if balance == 0:
                group_count += 1
    return group_count




This code snippet defines a function count_balanced_groups(s) that iterates through each character in the string, adjusting the balance count for each parenthesis and increasing the group count whenever a group is balanced. The function returns the total count of balanced groups.

Method 2: Stack-Based Approach

The stack-based approach utilizes a stack data structure to track open parentheses, providing an effective way to manage grouping and ensure proper balance. Its strength lies in clearly visualizing the pairing process of parentheses.

Here’s an example:

def max_balanced_groups(parentheses):
    stack = []
    count = 0
    for paren in parentheses:
        if paren == '(':
        elif stack:
            if not stack:
                count += 1
    return count




The function max_balanced_groups() maintains a stack to monitor open parentheses. When a closing parenthesis is encountered, it checks for a corresponding open parenthesis to pop from the stack, incrementing the count when a balanced group is closed. The return value is the number of balanced groups.

Method 3: Recursion

Recursion breaks down the problem into smaller subproblems, allowing the function to call itself to process progressively smaller strings until all balanced groups are counted. This method is elegant but can be less efficient for larger strings.

Here’s an example:

def count_groups(p_string, start=0, balance=0):
    if start == len(p_string):
        return 1 if balance == 0 else 0
    elif balance < 0:
        return 0
    elif p_string[start] == '(':
        return count_groups(p_string, start + 1, balance + 1)
    elif p_string[start] == ')':
        return count_groups(p_string, start + 1, balance - 1) + (balance == 1)
    return 0




The recursive function count_groups() processes characters in the input string one by one. Depending upon the character, the function branches into conditions and calls itself with updated indices and balance. It accumulates and returns the number of balanced groups once all characters are processed.

Method 4: Dynamic Programming

Dynamic programming optimizes the process by storing intermediary results to avoid redundant computations, especially effective in computing the number of balanced groups in polynomial time for a string with many parentheses.

Here’s an example:

def dp_balanced_groups(s):
    dp = [0] * (len(s)+1)
    for i in range(1, len(s)):
        if s[i] == ')' and i - dp[i-1] - 1 >= 0 and s[i - dp[i-1] - 1] == '(':
            dp[i] = dp[i-1] + 2 + (dp[i - dp[i-1] - 2] if i - dp[i-1] - 2 >= 0 else 0)
    return max(dp)




The function dp_balanced_groups() creates a dynamic programming table to store lengths of valid parentheses substrings ending at each index. It uses previously computed values to calculate the length of balanced strings effectively and returns the maximum value found, which indicates the maximum length of the balanced group.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Using Regular Expressions

This bonus method employs Python’s regular expressions to match and count balanced parenthesis groups. This approach is quick for simple cases but may not handle nested parentheses well.

Here’s an example:

import re

def regex_count_balanced(s):
    return len(re.findall(r'\(\)', s))




The function regex_count_balanced() uses Python’s re module to find all occurrences of the pattern representing a single balanced pair of parentheses. It then returns the number of matches found, effectively counting the number of balanced groups.


  • Method 1: Iterative Counting. Simple and effective. Has linear time complexity. Best for when you only need the count of balanced groups.
  • Method 2: Stack-Based Approach. Intuitive and reliable. Handles nested parentheses efficiently. But requires additional space for the stack.
  • Method 3: Recursion. Elegant solution. Straightforward logic. Not as efficient for large inputs due to possible stack overflow.
  • Method 4: Dynamic Programming. Optimized for performance with large inputs. Can be complex to understand. Provides maximum balanced substring lengths.
  • Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Using Regular Expressions. Quick for non-nested patterns. Not suitable for complex cases with varying depths of nested parentheses.