Practical Implementation of Rank and Select Queries

Rodrigo González, Szymon Grabowski, Veli Mäkinen, and Gonzalo Navarro

Research on succinct data structures has made significant progress in recent years. An essential building block of many of those techniques is a data structure to perform rank and select operations over a bit array. The first operation tells how many bits are set up to some position, and the second the position of the i-th bit set. Albeit there exist constant-time solutions that require sublinear extra space, the practicality of those solutions against more naive ones has not been carefully studied. In this paper we show some results in this respect, which suggest that in many practical cases the simpler solutions are better in terms of time and extra space.