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Minimum number of swaps required to transform one string to other

+5 votes

Given 2 strings s1, s2 and s1 is equal to s2 if they are lexicographically sorted, Find minimum number of swaps required to transform s1 to s2?

Swap Definition:
Problem 1 : we can transform index i with i+1 where 0<=i< s1.length()-1
Problem 2 : we can transform index i with i+1 where 0<=i< s1.length()-1 and other operation we can swap first character of string with last

example: s1="abc", s2="cba"
In problem1 3 swaps required abc ---> bac ---> bca ---> cba
In problem2 1 swaps required abc ---> cba [swap first and last element]

posted Nov 25, 2013 by Raghu

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1 Answer

+2 votes

For any given index, if the characters in both the strings are not equal. There is a mismatch. Since the mismatched character from first string will cause a mismatch in the second string at another position j. So the total number of mismatches will always be a multiple of 2.

One swap corrects position of 2 characters. So the optimal number of mismatches is half the total number of mismatches.

answer Nov 25, 2013 by Sanketi Garg
I understand about that, But i need an algorithm(procedure) for finding minimum number of swaps
Finding the  minimum number of swaps is easy -
1. Start a loop till length
2. compare a[i] with b[i]
3. if both are not equal increase the count by 1
4. In the end return count/2
Considering two scenarios here

1. We are counting swaps without actually swapping elements ( not sure if above algorithm will work)
2. We are counting swaps with swapping elements. I think in this case count would be minimum swap count rather swap.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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