Similarity distances between permutations

Lili Su, Farzad Farnoud, Olgica Milenkovic

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


We address the problem of computing distances between rankings that take into account similarities between elements. The need for evaluating such distances arises in applications such as machine learning, social sciences and data storage. The problem may be summarized as follows: Given two rankings and a positive cost function on transpositions that depends on the similarity of the elements involved, find a smallest cost sequence of transpositions that converts one ranking into another. Our focus is on costs that may be described via special tree structures and on rankings modeled as permutations. The presented results include a quadratic-time algorithm for finding a minimum cost transform for a single cycle; and a linear time, 5/3-approximation algorithm for permutations that contain multiple cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2014 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2014
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781479951864
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2014 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 29 2014Jul 4 2014

Publication series

NameIEEE International Symposium on Information Theory - Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2157-8095


Other2014 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHonolulu, HI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


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