Pancake flipping and sorting permutations

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In this paper, we study several variations of the pancake flipping problem, which is also well known as the problem of sorting by prefix reversals. We consider the variations in the sorting process by adding with prefix reversals other similar operations such as prefix transpositions and prefix transreversals. We first study the problem of sorting unsigned permutations by prefix reversals and prefix transpositions and present a 3-approximation algorithm for this problem. Then we give a 2-approximation algorithm for sorting by prefix reversals and prefix transreversals. We also provide a 3-approximation algorithm for sorting by prefix reversals and prefix transpositions where the operations are always applied at the unsorted suffix of the permutation. We further analyze the problem from practical point of view and show quantitatively how approximation ratios of our algorithms improve with the increase of number of prefix reversals applied by optimal algorithms. Finally, we present experimental results to support our analysis.




Hasan, M., Rahman, A., Rahman, M. K., Rahman, M. S., Sharmin, M., & Yeasmin, R. (2015). Pancake flipping and sorting permutations. Journal of Discrete Algorithms, 33, 139–149.

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