In topological data analysis, a point cloud data $P$ extracted from a metric space is often analyzed by computing the persistence diagram or barcodes of a sequence of Rips complexes built on $P$ indexed by a scale parameter. Unfortunately, even for input of moderate size, the size of the Rips complex may become prohibitively large as the scale parameter increases. Starting with the \emph{Sparse Rips filtration} introduced by Sheehy, some existing methods aim to reduce the size of the complex so as to improve the time efficiency as well. However, as we demonstrate, existing approaches still fall short of scaling well, especially for high dimensional data. In this paper, we investigate the advantages and limitations of existing approaches. Based on insights gained from the experiments, we propose an efficient new algorithm, called \emph{SimBa}, for approximating the persistent homology of Rips filtrations with quality guarantees. Our new algorithm leverages a batch collapse strategy as well as a new sparse Rips-like filtration. We experiment on a variety of low and high dimensional data sets. We show that our strategy presents a significant size reduction, and our algorithm for approximating Rips filtration persistence is order of magnitude faster than existing methods in practice.

In this experimental study we consider Steiner tree approximation algorithms that guarantee a constant approximation ratio smaller than 2. The considered greedy algorithms and approaches based on linear programming involve the incorporation of k-restricted full components for some k e 3. For most of the algorithms, their strongest theoretical approximation bounds are only achieved for k. However, the running time is also exponentially dependent on k, so only small k are tractable in practice. We investigate different implementation aspects and parameter choices that finally allow us to construct algorithms (somewhat) feasible for practical use. We compare the algorithms against each other, to an exact LP-based algorithm, and to fast and simple 2-approximations.

The suffix array, perhaps the most important data structure in modern string processing, needs to be augmented with the longest-common-prefix (LCP) array in many applications. Their construction is often a major bottleneck especially when the data is too big for internal memory. We describe two new algorithms for computing the LCP array from the suffix array in external memory. Experiments demonstrate that the new algorithms are about a factor of two faster than the fastest previous algorithm. We then further engineer the two new algorithms and improve them in three ways. First, we speed up the algorithms by up to a factor of two through parallelism. Just 8 threads is sufficient for making the algorithms essentially I/O bound. Second, we reduce the disk space usage of the algorithms making them in-place: The input (text and suffix array) is treated as read-only and the working disk space never exceeds the size of the final output (the LCP array). Third, we add support for large alphabets. All previous implementations assume the byte alphabet.

#### Editorial ESA 2016 Special Issue

Christos ZaroliagisThe 2-hop-cover labeling of a graph is currently the best data structure for answering to shortest-path distance queries on large-scale networks, since it combines low query times, affordable space occupancy, and reasonable preprocessing effort. Its main limit resides in not being suitable in dynamic networks since after a network change: i) queries on the distance can return incorrect values; and ii) recomputing the labeling from scratch yields unsustainable time overhead. In this paper, we overcome this limit by introducing the first decremental algorithm able to update 2-hop-cover labelings under node/edge removals and edge weight increases. We prove the new algorithm to be: i) correct, i.e., after each update operation queries on the updated labeling return exact values; ii) efficient w.r.t. the number of nodes that change their distance as a consequence of a graph update; iii) able to preserve the minimality of the labeling, a desirable property that impacts on both query time and space occupancy. Furthermore, we provide an extensive experimental study to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new method. We consider it both alone and in combination with the unique known incremental approach~\cite{AIY14}, thus obtaining the first fully dynamic algorithm for updating 2-hop-cover labelings under general graph updates. Our experiments show that the new dynamic algorithms are able orders of magnitude faster than the from scratch approach while generating labelings that are equivalent, in terms of query time and space occupancy, to those computed from scratch, thus making 2-hop-cover labelings suited to be used in practice

We present KADABRA, a new algorithm to approximate betweenness centrality in directed and undirected graphs, which significantly outperforms all previous approaches on real-world complex networks. The efficiency of the new algorithm relies on two new theoretical contribution, of independent interest. The first contribution focuses on sampling shortest paths, a subroutine used by most algorithms that approximate betweenness centrality. We show that, on realistic random graph models, we can perform this task in time $|E|^{\frac{1}{2}+o(1)}$ with high probability, obtaining a significant speedup with respect to the $\Theta(|E|)$ worst-case performance. We experimentally show that this new technique achieves similar speedups on real-world complex networks, as well. The second contribution is a new rigorous application of the adaptive sampling technique. This approach decreases the total number of shortest paths that need to be sampled to compute all betweenness centralities with a given absolute error, and it also handles more general problems, such as computing the $k$ most central nodes. Furthermore, our analysis is general, and it might be extended to other settings.

It is well-known that Quicksort - which is commonly considered as one of the fastest in-place sorting algorithms - suffers in an essential way from branch mispredictions. We present a novel approach to address this problem by partially decoupling control from data flow: in order to perform the partitioning, we split the input in blocks of constant size; then, all elements in one block are compared with the pivot and the outcomes of the comparisons are stored in a buffer. In a second pass, the respective elements are rearranged. By doing so, we avoid conditional branches based on outcomes of comparisons (except for the final Insertionsort). Moreover, we prove that when sorting $n$ elements the average total number of branch mispredictions is at most $\epsilon n \log n + \Oh(n)$ for some small $\epsilon$ depending on the block size. Our experimental results are promising: when sorting random integer data, we achieve an increase in speed (number of elements sorted per second) of more than 80% over the GCC implementation of Quicksort (C++ std::sort). Also for many other data types and non-random inputs, there is still a significant speedup. Only in few special cases like (almost) sorted inputs, std::sort can beat our implementation. Moreover, on random input permutations, our implementation is even slightly faster than Super Scalar Sample Sort, which uses a linear amount of additional space. Finally, we also apply our approach to Quickselect and we obtain a speed-up of more than 100% over the GCC implementation (C++ std::nth_element).