Finding Maximum XOR of Elements Less Than a Limit in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: The task is to identify all elements within a list that are smaller than a specified limit and to find a pair among these elements that yields the maximum XOR value. For a list [2, 4, 5, 7] with a limit of 6, the output should be a subset such as [2, 4, 5] with the maximum XOR value being 7 derived from the pair (5, 2).

Method 1: Brute Force Comparison

This method involves iterating through all possible pairs within the element list restricted by the limit and calculating their XOR values, retaining the maximum. Although straightforward, this brute force approach is not optimal for large datasets due to its O(n^2) time complexity.

Here’s an example:

def find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit):
    max_xor, selected_elements = 0, []
    for i in arr:
        for j in arr:
            if i < limit and j  max_xor:
                    max_xor, selected_elements = xor, [i, j]
    return selected_elements, max_xor

arr = [2, 4, 5, 7]
limit = 6
result = find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit)
print(result)

The output is:

([5, 2], 7)

This code snippet defines a function find_max_xor_pair, which searches for the largest XOR value pair within the given limit. We use two nested loops to check all pairs, updating our result when we find a new maximum XOR value. The result is a tuple containing the pair and their XOR value.

Method 2: Sort and Two Pointers Technique

By sorting the array first, we can employ a two-pointers technique to reduce the comparison count. While maintaining the pointers within the limit, this method iteratively checks for maximum XOR. It’s more efficient than brute force, with a time complexity of O(n log n) due to sorting.

Here’s an example:

def find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit):
    arr = [x for x in arr if x < limit]
    arr.sort()
    max_xor, selected_elements = 0, []
    left, right = 0, len(arr) - 1
    while left  max_xor:
            max_xor, selected_elements = xor, [arr[left], arr[right]]
        if (arr[left] ^ (max_xor + 1)) > (arr[right] ^ (max_xor + 1)):
            left += 1
        else:
            right -= 1
    return selected_elements, max_xor

arr = [2, 4, 5, 7]
limit = 6
result = find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit)
print(result)

The output is:

([5, 2], 7)

In this code, the find_max_xor_pair function first filters and sorts the array. Then, it uses two pointers to find the pair with the maximum XOR value. The pointers move in a way that always considers larger XOR possibilities, which makes it more efficient than the previous method.

Method 3: Hashing with Bit Manipulation

With hashing and bit manipulation, we can solve the problem even more efficiently. The key is to use a hash set for quick lookup and to iterate over bit positions to construct the maximum XOR dynamically. This approach has a linear runtime in practice, though worst-case complexity can still be quadratic.

Here’s an example:

def find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit):
    max_xor, selected_elements = 0, []
    mask = 0
    for i in reversed(range(32)): # assuming 32-bit integers
        mask |= 1 << i
        potential_max = max_xor | (1 << i)
        prefixes = {num & mask for num in arr if num < limit}
        for p in prefixes:
            if potential_max ^ p in prefixes:
                selected_elements, max_xor = [potential_max ^ p, p], potential_max
                break
    return selected_elements, max_xor

arr = [2, 4, 5, 7]
limit = 6
result = find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit)
print(result)

The output is:

([5, 2], 7)

The function find_max_xor_pair works by establishing a mask that helps isolate bit patterns of processed numbers and sets the stage for the maximum XOR. It then uses a hash set to store prefixes of the numbers within the limit, allowing for constant time lookup when attempting to find the optimal pair.

Method 4: Trie Data Structure

A trie data structure represents the binary representation of the numbers. Each path from the root to a leaf corresponds to the binary digits of a number, which enables an efficient search for the maximum XOR partner for a given number. This method is suitable for many queries and can perform in O(n log m) time, where m is the maximum number in the array.

Here’s an example:

class TrieNode:
    def __init__(self):
        self.children = {}

def insert(root, num):
    node = root
    for i in reversed(range(32)):
        bit = (num >> i) & 1
        if bit not in node.children:
            node.children[bit] = TrieNode()
        node = node.children[bit]

def query(root, num):
    node = root
    max_xor = 0
    for i in reversed(range(32)):
        bit = (num >> i) & 1
        toggle_bit = 1 - bit
        if toggle_bit in node.children:
            max_xor |= (1 << i)
            node = node.children[toggle_bit]
        else:
            node = node.children[bit]
    return max_xor

def find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit):
    root = TrieNode()
    for num in arr:
        if num < limit:
            insert(root, num)
    max_xor = float('-inf')
    selected_elements = []
    for num in arr:
        if num  max_xor:
                max_xor = xor
                selected_elements = [num, xor ^ num]
    return selected_elements, max_xor

arr = [2, 4, 5, 7]
limit = 6
result = find_max_xor_pair(arr, limit)
print(result)

The output is:

([5, 2], 7)

The code snippet applies a trie-based approach to find the maximum XOR pair. Each number less than the limit is inserted into the trie as a binary tree with nodes representing individual bits. To find the maximum XOR for a number, we traverse the tree, choosing the opposite bit where possibleβ€”which guarantees the highest XOR.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Using itertools and max()

If code brevity is the goal and we are dealing with small data sets, Python’s itertools library coupled with the max function achieves our goal in a minimalist fashion. However, this elegance comes at the cost of a O(n^2) time complexity.

Here’s an example:

from itertools import combinations

arr = [2, 4, 5, 7]
limit = 6
filtered_arr = [x for x in arr if x < limit]
result_pair = max(combinations(filtered_arr, 2), key=lambda x: x[0] ^ x[1])
max_xor = result_pair[0] ^ result_pair[1]
print(result_pair, max_xor)

The output is:

((5, 2), 7)

With just a few lines of code, this one-liner defines filtered_arr with the elements less than the limit and then finds the pair with the maximum XOR using the max function and combinations from itertools.

Summary/Discussion

  • Method 1: Brute Force Comparison. Simple to understand and implement. However, it is inefficient for large lists due to its quadratic time complexity.
  • Method 2: Sort and Two Pointers Technique. This method strikes a balance between simplicity and efficiency. Sorting helps to bring possible candidates closer, which is good for medium-sized lists.
  • Method 3: Hashing with Bit Manipulation. Offers good performance in practice, especially with unique sets of numbers. It takes advantage of bit-level patterns and hashing for faster lookups.
  • Method 4: Trie Data Structure. Highly efficient for large datasets or multi-query scenarios. The trade-off is the increased complexity of implementation and additional memory usage.
  • One-Liner Method 5: Using itertools and max(). This method is succinct and elegant but is only practical for small datasets due to its inefficiency.