Shortest Unique Prefix

Posted: 15 Jan, 2021
Difficulty: Moderate


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You are given an array containing ‘N’ words. For each word, you need to find its shortest prefix which can uniquely identify it. For example “abcd” and “abdc” both have the prefix “ab” in common so we can’t uniquely find a word using the prefix “ab”. To uniquely identify both the words we need the prefix “abc” from “abcd” and “abd” from “abdc”.

You can assume that the words are unique. It means that it is always possible to find a unique prefix for each word.
Input Format:
The first line of the input contains an integer ‘T’ denoting the number of test cases.
The next ‘2*T’ lines describe the ‘T’ test cases.

The first line of each test case contains single positive integers ‘N’ denoting the number of words.
The next ‘N’ lines contain a string of lower case characters.
Output Format:
The output of each test case should contain 'N' lines, in the ith line you need to print the shortest unique prefix for ith word.

Print the output of each test case in a separate line.
You do not need to print anything, it has already been taken care of. Just implement the given function.
1 <= T <= 50
1 <= N <= 10^4  

Where ‘T’ is the number of test cases, ‘N’ is the number of words and, the sum of the lengths of all the words in a test case is less than 10^4.

Time Limit: 1 sec
Approach 1
  • For each word, we will try each prefix one by one to check if this prefix can be the shortest unique prefix or not.
  • We will check the prefixes of length shortest to longest and for each prefix, we will find if this is already a prefix of some word or not. If this prefix is not a prefix of some other word then it is the unique prefix for our current word. Also, it will be the shortest prefix because we are checking the prefixes from length shortest to longest.
  • We will store each prefix of the word in an array and return it as the answer.
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