Compact Rich-Functional Binary Relation Representations

Jérémy Barbay, Francisco Claude, and Gonzalo Navarro

Binary relations are an important abstraction arising in a number of data representation problems. Each existing data structure specializes in the few basic operations required by one single application, and takes only limited advantage of the inherent redundancy of binary relations. We show how to support more general operations efficiently, while taking better advantage of some forms of redundancy in practical instances. As a basis for a more general discussion on binary relation data structures, we list the operations of potential interest for practical applications, and give reductions between operations. We identify a set of operations that yield the support of all others. As a first contribution to the discussion, we present two data structures for binary relations, each of which achieves a distinct tradeoff between the space used to store and index the relation, the set of operations supported in sublinear time, and the time in which those operations are supported. The experimental performance of our data structures shows that they not only offer good time complexities to carry out many operations, but also take advantage of regularities that arise in practical instances in order to reduce space usage.