prune and search

(algorithmic technique)

Definition: Find an optimal value by eliminating a constant fraction of remaining objects at each step. Eliminated objects are guaranteed not to affect the optimal value. A logarithmic number of steps reduces the number of objects to a constant, and a brute force approach can then solve it.

Also known as decimation.

Note: Adapted from [AS98, page 422].

Author: PEB

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Entry modified 4 February 2005.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "prune and search", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed. 4 February 2005. (accessed TODAY) Available from: