March 6 – 11 , 2016, Dagstuhl Seminar 16101

Data Structures and Advanced Models of Computation on Big Data


Alejandro Lopez-Ortiz (University of Waterloo, CA)
Ulrich Carsten Meyer (Goethe-Universität – Frankfurt a. M., DE)
Markus E. Nebel (TU Kaiserslautern, DE)
Robert Sedgewick (Princeton University, US)

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Dagstuhl Report, Volume 6, Issue 3 Dagstuhl Report
Aims & Scope
List of Participants
Shared Documents
Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


About the Seminar

Data structures provide ways of storing and manipulating data and information that are appropriate for the computational model at hand. Every such model relies on assumptions that we have to keep questioning. The aim of this seminar was to exchange ideas for new algorithms and data structures, and to discuss our models of computations in light of recent technological advances. This Dagstuhl seminar was the 12th in a series of loosely related Dagstuhl seminars on data structures.


The presentations covered both advances in classic fields, as well as new models for recent trends in computing, in particular the appearance of big-data applications.

The talks by Brodal (§3.5), Penschuck (§3.19), Silvestri (§3.29), and Vahrenhold (§3.31) covered methods in the external-memory model that models the situation that data does no longer fit into internal memory. This limit can be pushed a bit further by using succinct data structures, which use only as much memory as absolutely necessary. Such methods were covered in the talks of Hagerup (§3.14), Raman (§3.25), and Gog (§3.12). If the task is to generate large random instances, Even (§3.9) showed that one can delay generation of large parts until they really become requested.

Big-data applications rely on parallel computation to speed up processing. Bingmann (§3.4) announced the creation of a new framework to simplify developing such applications. Brodnik (§3.6) presented a parallel string-searching algorithm. Since such methods are often used in a distributed setting, the cost of communication can become dominating. Sanders (§3.24) discussed several algorithms from this point of view.

Iacono (§3.15) and Mehlhorn (§3.18) reported on recent advances in the long-standing open problem of dynamic optimality of binary search trees (BSTs). The classic problem of finding optimal static BSTs was taken up by Munro (§3.21): it becomes significantly harder if the objective is to minimize the number of binary comparisons instead of the classic ternary comparisons.

Wild (§3.32) used the connection between BSTs and recursion trees of Quicksort to analyze Quicksort on inputs with equal keys, including multi-way partitioning Quicksort. The latter was discussed in detail by Aumüller (§3.3) who presented a novel analysis for comparison-optimal partitioning.

Neumann (§3.22) introduced a new randomized dictionary implementation based on jumplists. Kopelowitz (§3.17) showed a much simplified solution to the file-maintenance problem.

In the context of large sparse graphs, Andoni (§3.2), Fagerberg (§3.10), and Sun (§3.30) showed how to exploit special structure in the input for algorithmic applications. Pettie (§3.28) showed how to efficiently answer connectivity queries in graphs when vertices can be deleted.

The seminar also enjoyed contributions on new algorithms: two innovative applications of hashing were presented by Silvestri (§3.29) and Jacob (§3.16); Meyer auf der Heide (§3.20) applied the primal-dual approach for online algorithms to online leasing problems. Driemel (§3.7) reported on clustering methods for time series.

The theory-focused talks were complemented by broader perspectives from practice: Ajwani (§3.1) presented his vision for future communication tools that are supported by context-sensitive agents, and Sedgewick (§3.27) sketched his views on the future of higher education. Finally, Salinger (§3.26) summarized the approaches taken by SAP to include data-specific algorithms directly in their HANA database system.

New models of computation were also discussed. Owens (§3.23) explained how the architecture of graphic cards calls for different approaches to design data structures; Dütsch (§3.8) discussed the cost of virtual address translation in several algorithms. Finally, Farach-Colton (§3.11) and Graefe (§3.13) challenged the claim that data structures are independent of the application they are used in: they showed intriguing examples where the context a data structure was applied in entailed unforeseen additional requirements.

Final Thoughts

The organizers would like to thank the Dagstuhl team for their continuous support; the welcoming atmosphere made the seminar both highly productive and enjoyable. They also thank all participants for their contributions to this seminar.

  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Alejandro Lopez-Ortiz, Ulrich Carsten Meyer, Markus E. Nebel, and Robert Sedgewick

Dagstuhl Seminar Series


  • Data Bases / Information Retrieval
  • Data Structures / Algorithms / Complexity
  • World Wide Web / Internet


  • Data structures
  • Algorithms
  • Cloud services
  • Information theory
  • Large data sets
  • External memory methods
  • Big data
  • Streaming
  • Web-scale

Book exhibition

Books from the participants of the current Seminar 

Book exhibition in the library, ground floor, during the seminar week.


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.

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