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From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-12-12 20:29:33

Jim Apple <japple_at_[hidden]> writes:

> David Abrahams wrote:
>>>>It might help some of us more ignorant folk if you'd post a definition
>>>>of "memoization".
>>>and of dynamic programming too and how it differs from memoization :-)
>> Especially if by "dynamic programming" you mean something other than
>> an
>> optimization technique for finding the least cost path through a
>> search space. That's the only meaning I know for the term.
> Sorry:
> Here's a link to complement this stuff:

Still no definition of memoization, and the distinction from dynamic
programming given the examples is non-obvious. Nearest thing I can
find is that it's top-down dynamic programming, but I guess I never
thought of dynamic programming as being related to a particular
search order.

> Dynamic programming/memoization is useful when solving a problem with
> a recursive solution, but where many sub-problems overlap.

Don't all problems with an iterative solution have a recursive
solution? I never think of dynamic programming that way, though it
appears we're talking about the same thing.

> The
> classic example of this is computing the Fibonacci numbers, which have
> the following recursive definition:
> f(0) = 1
> f(1) = 1
> f(n) = f(n-1) + f (n-2)
> The naive implementation is miserably slow: it's performace is
> exponential.

You'd have to be *pretty* naive to write it that way.

> The smart way to calculate f(n) is to create a table, building
> incrementally.

I guess, if you need to calculate f(n) for many different
non-consecutive n, that's smart. If you only need to do it once you

    unsigned fib(unsigned n) // linear, no table.
        if (n < 2) return 1;
        unsigned n1 = 1, n2 = 1;
        for (unsigned i = 2; i < n; ++i)
            unsigned x = n1 + n2;
            n2 = n1;
            n1 = x;
        return n1 + n2;

> The performance is now linear: f(n) is only
> two lookups.

That's constant, not linear.

> f(m) must be calculated for all m < n before this
> happens, but since each of these is constat time, performace increase
> is dramatic. This is dynamic programming.

Well, not a perfectly worded example, but I now know we're talking
about the same dynamic programming.

> Memoizing is a simple concept: remeber what you know. This creates the
> table implicitly.

Example? I always think of dynamic programming as creating the cache
implicitly, too.

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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