Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Maximum subarray problem

This is one of those nice little problems that I used to know how to solve, but I have forgotten over time...

Problem Description: Given a array of n integers, (there can be negative integers), find the subarray which gives you the maximum sum in O(n) time.

Solution (Intuition): Observe that the smallest max sum is 0 (the solution subarray can be empty). Hence, we do not want to go below this number. A positive number contributes to increasing sum (so we take it in), but negative numbers decrease the sum. Hence, the solution subarray must start with a positive number. We have two variables, max_so_far and max_ending_here.

Solution (Code):

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