Rabin–Karp algorithm

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In computer science, the Rabin–Karp algorithm or Karp–Rabin algorithm is a string-searching algorithm created by Richard M. Karp and Michael O. Rabin (1987) that uses hashing to find an exact match of a pattern string in a text. It uses a rolling hash to quickly filter out positions of the text that cannot match the pattern, and then checks for a match at the remaining positions. Generalizations of the same idea can be used to find more than one match of a single pattern, or to find matches for more than one pattern.

Quick facts: Class, Worst-case performance, Average perfor...
Rabin-Karp algorithm
ClassString searching
Worst-case performance plus preprocessing time
Average performance
Worst-case space complexity

To find a single match of a single pattern, the expected time of the algorithm is linear in the combined length of the pattern and text, although its worst-case time complexity is the product of the two lengths. To find multiple matches, the expected time is linear in the input lengths, plus the combined length of all the matches, which could be greater than linear. In contrast, the Aho–Corasick algorithm can find all matches of multiple patterns in worst-case time and space linear in the input length and the number of matches (instead of the total length of the matches).

A practical application of the algorithm is detecting plagiarism. Given source material, the algorithm can rapidly search through a paper for instances of sentences from the source material, ignoring details such as case and punctuation. Because of the abundance of the sought strings, single-string searching algorithms are impractical.