DMTCS Proceedings, 2005 International Conference on Analysis of Algorithms

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Order statistics and estimating cardinalities of massive data sets

Frédéric Giroire


We introduce a new class of algorithms to estimate the cardinality of very large multisets using constant memory and doing only one pass on the data. It is based on order statistics rather that on bit patterns in binary representations of numbers. We analyse three families of estimators. They attain a standard error of 1/√M using M units of storage, which places them in the same class as the best known algorithms so far. They have a very simple internal loop, which gives them an advantage in term of processing speed. The algorithms are validated on internet traffic traces.

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