How to do matrix conversions by row and columns toggles?

Tag: algorithm Author: wyh996qq Date: 2009-08-05

I have got a square matrix consisting of elements either 1 or 0. An ith row toggle toggles all the ith row elements (1 becomes 0 and vice versa) and jth column toggle toggles all the jth column elements. I have got another square matrix of similar size. I want to change the initial matrix to the final matrix using the minimum number of toggles. For example

|0 0 1|
|1 1 1|
|1 0 1|


|1 1 1|
|1 1 0|
|1 0 0|

would require a toggle of the first row and of the last column.

What will be the correct algorithm for this?

From your comments below, I think you should edit your question, and change 'jth row' to 'jth column'.
oops..yes you are right..thanks
@unknown (yahoo), 1) do you care about efficiency?, 2) do you want to tag it as a code-challenge?
This problem is trivial to solve. Is this homework?
this isn't trivial as number of tries has to be mimimum.

Best Answer

In general, the problem will not have a solution. To see this, note that transforming matrix A to matrix B is equivalent to transforming the matrix A - B (computed using binary arithmetic, so that 0 - 1 = 1) to the zero matrix. Look at the matrix A - B, and apply column toggles (if necessary) so that the first row becomes all 0's or all 1's. At this point, you're done with column toggles -- if you toggle one column, you have to toggle them all to get the first row correct. If even one row is a mixture of 0's and 1's at this point, the problem cannot be solved. If each row is now all 0's or all 1's, the problem is solvable by toggling the appropriate rows to reach the zero matrix.

To get the minimum, compare the number of toggles needed when the first row is turned to 0's vs. 1's. In the OP's example, the candidates would be toggling column 3 and row 1 or toggling columns 1 and 2 and rows 2 and 3. In fact, you can simplify this by looking at the first solution and seeing if the number of toggles is smaller or larger than N -- if larger than N, than toggle the opposite rows and columns.


+1: An insightful reduction of the problem, and an elegantly simple algorithm.
+1: sleek solution. I figured out that the minimum solution toggles a specific row/column at most 1 time, but I failed to exploit that in my algorithm.
thanks..really great and efficient solution.Congrats..
@Nick Yes because toggling a row or column twice will not modify that row or column.Thanks for your help too..

Other Answer1

It's not always possible. If you start with a 2x2 matrix with an even number of 1s you can never arrive at a final matrix with an odd number of 1s.


in that case we can print "result not possible"
@Henrik, if we can toggle rows and columns then all combinations are possible, since we can toggle just 1 cell anywhere in the matrix.
@nick @Henrik please see the revised problem above.
@nick: no, you can't toggle just one cell. If you have a 2x2 matrix you always toggle 2 cells. Try to set a single cell to 1 in an all-zero 2x2 matrix.
@Henrik, forget my stupid comment, you are right.

Other Answer2


Simplify the problem from "Try to transform A into B" into "Try to transform M into 0", where M = A xor B. Now all the positions which must be toggled have a 1 in them.

Consider an arbitrary position in M. It is affected by exactly one column toggle and exactly one row toggle. If its initial value is V, the presence of the column toggle is C, and the presence of the row toggle is R, then the final value F is V xor C xor R. That's a very simple relationship, and it makes the problem trivial to solve.

Notice that, for each position, R = F xor V xor C = 0 xor V xor C = V xor C. If we set C then we force the value of R, and vice versa. That's awesome, because it means if I set the value of any row toggle then I will force all of the column toggles. Any one of those column toggles will force all of the row toggles. If the result is the 0 matrix, then we have a solution. We only need to try two cases!


function solve(Matrix M) as bool possible, bool[] rowToggles, bool[] colToggles:
    For var b in {true, false}
        colToggles = array from c in M.colRange select b xor Matrix(0, c)
        rowToggles = array from r in M.rowRange select colToggles[0] xor M(r, 0)
        if none from c in M.colRange, r in M.rowRange
                where colToggle[c] xor rowToggle[r] xor M(r, c) != 0 then
            return true, rowToggles, colToggles
        end if
    next var
    return false, null, null
end function


The analysis is trivial. We try two cases, within which we run along a row, then a column, then all cells. Therefore if there are r rows and c columns, meaning the matrix has size n = c * r, then the time complexity is O(2 * (c + r + c * r)) = O(c * r) = O(n). The only space we use is what is required for storing the outputs = O(c + r).

Therefore the algorithm takes time linear in the size of the matrix, and uses space linear in the size of the output. It is asymptotically optimal for obvious reasons.

Other Answer3

I came up with a brute force algorithm.

The algorithm is based on 2 conjectures:
(so it may not work for all matrices - I'll verify them later)

  • The minimum (number of toggles) solution will contain a specific row or column only once.
  • In whatever order we apply the steps to convert the matrix, we get the same result.

The algorithm:
Lets say we have the matrix m = [ [1,0], [0,1] ].

m: 1 0
   0 1

We generate a list of all row and column numbers,
like this: ['r0', 'r1', 'c0', 'c1']

Now we brute force, aka examine, every possible step combinations.
For example,
we start with 1-step solution,
ksubsets = [['r0'], ['r1'], ['c0'], ['c1']]

if no element is a solution then proceed with 2-step solution,
ksubsets = [['r0', 'r1'], ['r0', 'c0'], ['r0', 'c1'], ['r1', 'c0'], ['r1', 'c1'], ['c0', 'c1']]


A ksubsets element (combo) is a list of toggle steps to apply in a matrix.

Python implementation (tested on version 2.5)

# Recursive definition (+ is the join of sets)
# S = {a1, a2, a3, ..., aN}
# ksubsets(S, k) = {
# {{a1}+ksubsets({a2,...,aN}, k-1)}  +
# {{a2}+ksubsets({a3,...,aN}, k-1)}  +
# {{a3}+ksubsets({a4,...,aN}, k-1)}  +
# ... }
# example: ksubsets([1,2,3], 2) = [[1, 2], [1, 3], [2, 3]]
def ksubsets(s, k):
    if k == 1: return [[e] for e in s]
    ksubs = []
    ss = s[:]
    for e in s:
        if len(ss) < k: break
        for x in ksubsets(ss,k-1):
            l = [e]
    return ksubs

def toggle_row(m, r):
    for i in range(len(m[r])):
        m[r][i] = m[r][i] ^ 1

def toggle_col(m, i):
    for row in m:
        row[i] = row[i] ^ 1

def toggle_matrix(m, combos):
    # example of combos, ['r0', 'r1', 'c3', 'c4']
    # 'r0' toggle row 0, 'c3' toggle column 3, etc.
    import copy
    k = copy.deepcopy(m)
    for combo in combos:
        if combo[0] == 'r':
            toggle_row(k, int(combo[1:]))
            toggle_col(k, int(combo[1:]))

    return k

def conversion_steps(sM, tM):
# Brute force algorithm.
# Returns the minimum list of steps to convert sM into tM.

    rows = len(sM)
    cols = len(sM[0])
    combos = ['r'+str(i) for i in range(rows)] + \
             ['c'+str(i) for i in range(cols)]

    for n in range(0, rows + cols -1):
        for combo in ksubsets(combos, n +1):
            if toggle_matrix(sM, combo) == tM:
                return combo
    return []


m: 0 0 0
   0 0 0
   0 0 0

k: 1 1 0
   1 1 0
   0 0 1

>>> m = [[0,0,0],[0,0,0],[0,0,0]]
>>> k = [[1,1,0],[1,1,0],[0,0,1]]
>>> conversion_steps(m, k)
['r0', 'r1', 'c2']


Thanks.I was never thinking in terms of brute force .Lets see if someone comes with a more efficient solution.

Other Answer4

Rather than look at this as a matrix problem, take the 9 bits from each array, load each of them into 2-byte size types (16 bits, which is probably the source of the arrays in the first place), then do a single XOR between the two.

(the bit order would be different depending on your type of CPU)

The first array would become: 0000000001111101 The second array would become: 0000000111110101

A single XOR would produce the output. No loops required. All you'd have to do is 'unpack' the result back into an array, if you still wanted to. You can read the bits without resorting to that, though.i

Other Answer5

If you can only toggle the rows, and not the columns, then there will only be a subset of matrices that you can convert into the final result. If this is the case, then it would be very simple:

for every row, i:
  if matrix1[i] == matrix2[i]
    toggle matrix1[i];
    if matrix1[i] == matrix2[i]
      die("cannot make similar");


The final matrix has to reach in minimum number of toggles irrespective of row or column toggles
|0 0 1| |1 1 1| |1 0 1| to |1 1 1| |1 1 0| |1 0 0| would require 1st row and last column toggle.

Other Answer6

This is a state space search problem. You are searching for the optimum path from a starting state to a destination state. In this particular case, "optimum" is defined as "minimum number of operations".

The state space is the set of binary matrices generatable from the starting position by row and column toggle operations.

ASSUMING that the destination is in the state space (NOT a valid assumption in some cases: see Henrik's answer), I'd try throwing a classic heuristic search (probably A*, since it is about the best of the breed) algorithm at the problem and see what happened.

The first, most obvious heuristic is "number of correct elements".

Any decent Artificial Intelligence textbook will discuss search and the A* algorithm.

You can represent your matrix as a nonnegative integer, with each cell in the matrix corresponding to exactly one bit in the integer On a system that supports 64-bit long long unsigned ints, this lets you play with anything up to 8x8. You can then use exclusive-OR operations on the number to implement the row and column toggle operations.

CAUTION: the raw total state space size is 2^(N^2), where N is the number of rows (or columns). For a 4x4 matrix, that's 2^16 = 65536 possible states.

Other Answer7

I think brute force is not necessary.

The problem can be rephrased in terms of a group. The matrices over the field with 2 elements constitute an commutative group with respect to addition.

As pointed out before, the question whether A can be toggled into B is equivalent to see if A-B can be toggled into 0. Note that toggling of row i is done by adding a matrix with only ones in the row i and zeros otherwise, while the toggling of column j is done by adding a matrix with only ones in column j and zeros otherwise.

This means that A-B can be toggled to the zero matrix if and only if A-B is contained in the subgroup generated by the toggling matrices.

Since addition is commutative, the toggling of columns takes place first, and we can apply the approach of Marius first to the columns and then to the rows.

In particular the toggling of the columns must make any row either all ones or all zeros. there are two possibilites:

  1. Toggle columns such that every 1 in the first row becomes zero. If after this there is a row in which both ones and zeros occur, there is no solution. Otherwise apply the same approach for the rows (see below).

  2. Toggle columns such that every 0 in the first row becomes 1. If after this there is a row in which both ones and zeros occur, there is no solution. Otherwise apply the same approach for the rows (see below).

Since the columns have been toggled successfully in the sense that in each row contains only ones or zeros, there are two possibilities:

  1. Toggle rows such that every 1 in the first column becomes zero.

  2. Toggle rows such that every 0 in the first row becomes zero.

Of course in the step for the rows, we take the possibility which results in less toggles, i.e. we count the ones in the first column and then decide how to toggle.

In total, only 2 cases have to be considered, namely how the columns are toggled; for the row step, the toggling can be decided by counting to minimuze the number of toggles in the second step.