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NR-grep: A fast and flexible pattern-matching tool

by Gonzalo Navarro
Software - Practice and Experience ()

Abstract

We present nrgrep (lsquonon-deterministic reverse greprsquo), a new pattern-matching tool designed for efficient search of complex patterns. Unlike previous tools of the grep family, such as agrep and Gnu grep, nrgrep is based on a single and uniform concept: the bit-parallel simulation of a non-deterministic suffix automaton. As a result, nrgrep can find from simple patterns to regular expressions, exactly or allowing errors in the matches, with an efficiency that degrades smoothly as the complexity of the searched pattern increases. Another concept that is fully integrated into nrgrep and that contributes to this smoothness is the selection of adequate subpatterns for fast scanning, which is also absent in many current tools. We show that the efficiency of nrgrep is similar to that of the fastest existing string-matching tools for the simplest patterns, and is by far unmatched for more complex patterns. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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