On rectangular partitionings in two dimensions: Algorithms, complexity, and applications

S. Muthukrishnan, Viswanath Poosala, Torsten Suel

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Partitioning a multi-dimensional data set into rectangular partitions subject to certain constraints is an important problem that arises in many database applications, including histogram-based selectivity estimation, load-balancing, and construction of index structures. While provably optimal and efficient algorithms exist for partitioning one-dimensional data, the multi-dimensional problem has received less attention, except for a few special cases. As a result, the heuristic partitioning techniques that are used in practice are not well understood, and come with no guarantees on the quality of the solution. In this paper, we present algorithmic and complexity-theoretic results for the fundamental problem of partitioning a two-dimensional array into rectangular tiles of arbitrary size in a way that minimizes the number of tiles required to satisfy a given constraint. Our main results are approximation algorithms for several partitioning problems that provably approximate the optimal solutions within small constant factors, and that run in linear or close to linear time. We also establish the NP-hardness of several partitioning problems, therefore it is unlikely that there are efficient, i.e., polynomial time, algorithms for solving these problems exactly. We also discuss a few applications in which partitioning problems arise. One of the applications is the problem of constructing multi-dimensional histograms. Our results, for example, give an efficient algorithm to construct the V-Optimal histograms which are known to be the most ac- curate histograms in several selectivity estimation problems. Our algorithms are the first to provide guaranteed bounds on the quality of the solution.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationDatabase Theory - ICDT 1999 - 7th International Conference, Proceedings
    EditorsPeter Buneman, Catriel Beeri
    PublisherSpringer Verlag
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Print)3540654526, 9783540654520
    StatePublished - 1998
    Event7th International Conference on Database Theory, ICDT 1999 - Jerusalem, Israel
    Duration: Jan 10 1999Jan 12 1999

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743
    ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


    Other7th International Conference on Database Theory, ICDT 1999

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Theoretical Computer Science
    • General Computer Science


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