The edit distance between two strings S and R is defined to be the minimum number of character inserts, deletes and changes needed to convert R to S. Given a text string t of length n, and a pattern string p of length m, informally, the string edit distance matching problem is to compute the smallest edit distance between p and substrings of t.
We relax the problem so that (a) we allow an additional operation, namely, substring moves, and (b) we allow approximation of this string edit distance. Our result is a near linear time deterministic algorithm to produce a factor of O(logn log* n) approximation to the string edit distance with moves. This is the first known significantly subquadratic algorithm for a string edit distance problem in which the distance involves nontrivial alignments. Our results are obtained by embedding strings into L1 vector space using a simplified parsing technique we call Edit Sensitive Parsing (ESP).
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