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We present randomized algorithms to solve the following string-matching problem and some of its generalizations: Given a string X of length n (the pattern) and a string Y (the text), find the first occurrence of X as a consecutive block within Y. The algorithms represent strings of length n by much shorter strings called fingerprints, and achieve their efficiency by manipulating fingerprints instead of longer strings. The algorithms require a constant number of storage locations, and essentially run in real time. They are conceptually simple and easy to implement. The method readily generalizes to higher-dimensional pattern-matching problems.
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