Alien Language - GCJ 2009

...Just finished the qualification round of 'Google Code Jam - 2009', passed through and just thought of posting this simple solution to the first problem, called 'Alien Language'. Here's the problem description:

Problem Statement

After years of study, scientists at Google Labs have discovered an alien language transmitted from a faraway planet. The alien language is very unique in that every word consists of exactly L lowercase letters. Also, there are exactly D words in this language.

Once the dictionary of all the words in the alien language was built, the next breakthrough was to discover that the aliens have been transmitting messages to Earth for the past decade. Unfortunately, these signals are weakened due to the distance between our two planets and some of the words may be misinterpreted. In order to help them decipher these messages, the scientists have asked you to devise an algorithm that will determine the number of possible interpretations for a given pattern.

A pattern consists of exactly L tokens. Each token is either a single lowercase letter (the scientists are very sure that this is the letter) or a group of unique lowercase letters surrounded by parenthesis ( and ). For example: (ab)d(dc) means the first letter is either a or b, the second letter is definitely d and the last letter is either d or c. Therefore, the pattern (ab)d(dc) can stand for either one of these 4 possibilities: add, adc, bdd, bdc.


The first line of input contains 3 integers, L, D and N separated by a space. D lines follow, each containing one word of length L. These are the words that are known to exist in the alien language. N test cases then follow, each on its own line and each consisting of a pattern as described above. You may assume that all known words provided are unique.


For each test case, output Case #X: K where X is the test case number, starting from 1, and K indicates how many words in the alien language match the pattern.


Small dataset

1 ≤ L ≤ 10
1 ≤ D ≤ 25
1 ≤ N ≤ 10

Large dataset

1 ≤ L ≤ 15
1 ≤ D ≤ 5000
1 ≤ N ≤ 500

Sample Input

3 5 4


Case #1: 2
Case #2: 1
Case #3: 3
Case #4: 0

The solution to this problem is pretty simple, if you could figure it out, that its tailor-made for regular expressions. I used Java. So, I could create a solution, with just a couple of code statements. Here's the solution:


  1. thats wrong!!!

    for input mno and test (az)(az)(az)

    this will be replaced bu [az][az][az]
    can you see dead people?
    this is equivalent to a or b or c or d... or z

    the correct must be (a|z)(a|z)(a|z)

  2. Hello Mathias,
    Looking at your comment, I knew that it was wrong. But anyways, I tried running the program with your test case and other similar inputs, but it works good! The program returns '0' for your test case and '1' for the word 'aza'.

    Apart from this proof, the other proof is that, it passed the 'Google Code Jam' testing phase.

    You can try running that code, with your test case and also other inputs like 'aza' for the pattern, you posted. Thanks for posting the comment! :)

  3. great.. perfect solution !

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