1996 ACM North Central Programming Contest
November 9, 1996
REVISED 20081016 at 6:28 pm
Optimal Array Multiplication Sequence
Given two arrays A
, we can determine the array
= A B
using the standard definition of matrix
The number of columns in the A array must be the same as the
number of rows in the B array. Notationally, let's say that
rows(A) and columns(A) are the number of rows and
columns, respectively, in the A array. The number of individual
multiplications required to compute the entire C array (which
will have the same number of rows as A and the same number of
columns as B) is then rows(A) columns(B)
columns(A). For example, if A is a 10 × 20 array,
and B is a 20 × 15 array, it will take 10 × 15 ×
20, or 3000 multiplications to compute the C array.
To perform multiplication of more than two arrays we have a choice of
how to proceed. For example, if X
, and Z
arrays, then to compute X Y Z
we could either
compute (X Y
). Suppose X is a 5 × 10 array, Y is a 10 × 20
array, and Z is a 20 × 35 array. Let's look at the number of
multiplications required to compute the product using the two
|(X × Y) ×
- 5 × 20 × 10 = 1000 multiplications to determine the
product (X × Y), a 5 × 20 array.
- Then 5 × 35 × 20 = 3500 multiplications to determine the
- Total multiplications: 4500.
|X × (Y ×
- 10 × 35 × 20 = 7000 multiplications to determine the
product (Y × Z), a 10 × 35 array.
- Then 5 × 35 × 10 = 1750 multiplications to determine the
- Total multiplications: 8750.
Clearly we'll be able to compute (X
using fewer individual multiplications.
Given the size of each array in a sequence of arrays to be multiplied,
you are to determine an optimal computational sequence. Optimality,
for this problem, is relative to the number of individual
For each array in the multiple sequences of arrays to be multiplied
you will be given only the dimensions of the array. Each sequence will
consist of an integer N
which indicates the number of arrays to
be multiplied, and then N
pairs of integers, each pair giving
the number of rows and columns in an array; the order in which the
dimensions are given is the same as the order in which the arrays are
to be multiplied. A value of zero for N
indicates the end of
the input. N
will be no larger than 10.
Assume the arrays are named A1, A2, ... AN
. Your output for
each input case is to be a line containing a parenthesized expression
clearly indicating the order in which the arrays are to be
multiplied. Prefix the output for each case with the case number (they
are sequentially numbered, starting with 1). Your output should
strongly resemble that shown in the samples shown below. If, by
chance, there are multiple correct sequences, any of these will be
accepted as a valid answer.
Case 1: (A1 x (A2 x A3))
Case 2: ((A1 x A2) x A3)
Case 3: ((A1 x (A2 x A3)) x ((A4 x A5) x A6))