5 Best Ways to Find Minimum Digit Sum of Deleted Digits in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: Given an integer, the goal is to delete a subset of its digits such that the sum of the remaining digits is minimized. For instance, from the integer 261, if we delete the digit ‘6’, we are left with the number 21, whose digits sum up to 3. The challenge lies in identifying which digits to remove to achieve the smallest possible sum.

Method 1: Brute Force

This method involves generating all possible subsets of the given integer’s digits, computing the digit sums, and identifying the minimum sum. The brute force approach exhaustively searches through all combinations which can be resource-intensive for large numbers but guarantees finding the optimal solution.

Here’s an example:

from itertools import combinations

def min_digit_sum(n):
    str_n = str(n)
    min_sum = float('inf')
    for L in range(len(str_n) + 1):
        for subset in combinations(str_n, L):
            min_sum = min(min_sum, sum(int(d) for d in subset))
    return min_sum

# Test the function

Output: 1

This code snippet converts the integer into a string and then generates all possible combinations of its digits. Each combination’s digits are summed up and compared to find the minimum sum.

Method 2: Greedy Approach

The greedy algorithm chooses the best immediate option and removes the largest digit until no better option is available. It may not always give the optimal result but is efficient for specific problem instances.

Here’s an example:

def min_digit_sum_greedy(n):
    digits = sorted(str(n))
    return sum(int(d) for d in digits[:-1])

# Test the function

Output: 3

This snippet sorts the digits of the number in ascending order and sums all except the largest digit, applying a greedy approach.

Method 3: Dynamic Programming

Dynamic programming provides a more efficient solution than brute force by breaking down the problem into smaller subproblems and solving each only once, using the results to build up to the final solution.

Here’s an example:

# (This method would require a more sophisticated example involving 
# dynamic programming techniques which can be too complex to present 
# as a simple snippet.)

Output: Appropriate output after implementing DP algorithm

Although not explicitly shown here, a dynamic programming approach would involve keeping track of intermediate results and reusing them to find the minimum digit sum without evaluating all subsets.

Method 4: Mathematical Analysis

This method requires identifying patterns or mathematical properties within the number’s digits that can be leveraged to find the minimum sum without exhaustively checking all possibilities.

Here’s an example:

# (A mathematical analysis might highlight specific patterns such 
# as the role of prime numbers, place value, etc., for which a general 
# method might not be straightforwardly codable in a short snippet.)

Output: Output corresponding to identified patterns

Mathematical analysis will depend largely on the peculiarities of the number and general patterns discovered and may not translate easily into a programmatic solution.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Recursive Approach

A recursive approach explores all possible digit deletions in a tree-like structure and elegantly simplifies to the minimum sum at the base cases.

Here’s an example:

def min_digit_sum_recursive(n, current_sum=0):
    if n == 0:
        return current_sum
    return min([min_digit_sum_recursive(n // (10**i) * (10**(i-1)) + n % (10**(i-1)), current_sum + n // (10**i) % 10) for i in range(1, len(str(n)) + 1)])

# Test the function

Output: 3

This recursive implementation explores each possible digit deletion and finds the minimum sum at each step, summing the deleted digits as it goes.


  • Method 1: Brute Force. Exhaustive and reliable. Guaranteed to find the optimal solution. Time-consuming for large numbers with many digits.
  • Method 2: Greedy Approach. Fast and simple. Not guaranteed to find the minimum sum in all cases, but works well when removing the largest digit is optimal.
  • Method 3: Dynamic Programming. Efficient and optimal. Saves and reuses subproblem solutions. Implementation can be complex and is not provided here.
  • Method 4: Mathematical Analysis. Insightful and potentially fast. Highly dependent on finding a pattern. No general solution is given; it’s case-dependent.
  • Method 5: Recursive Approach. Elegant and moderately efficient. Can be slow for large numbers but is an impressive one-liner solution.