Edit Distance in Python


Question

I'm programming a spellcheck program in Python. I have a list of valid words (the dictionary) and I need to output a list of words from this dictionary that have an edit distance of 2 from a given invalid word.

I know I need to start by generating a list with an edit distance of one from the invalid word(and then run that again on all the generated words). I have three methods, inserts(...), deletions(...) and changes(...) that should output a list of words with an edit distance of 1, where inserts outputs all valid words with one more letter than the given word, deletions outputs all valid words with one less letter, and changes outputs all valid words with one different letter.

I've checked a bunch of places but I can't seem to find an algorithm that describes this process. All the ideas I've come up with involve looping through the dictionary list multiple times, which would be extremely time consuming. If anyone could offer some insight, I'd be extremely grateful.

1
33
4/27/2016 9:38:05 AM

The thing you are looking at is called an edit distance and here is a nice explanation on wiki. There are a lot of ways how to define a distance between the two words and the one that you want is called Levenshtein distance and here is a DP implementation in python.

def levenshteinDistance(s1, s2):
    if len(s1) > len(s2):
        s1, s2 = s2, s1

    distances = range(len(s1) + 1)
    for i2, c2 in enumerate(s2):
        distances_ = [i2+1]
        for i1, c1 in enumerate(s1):
            if c1 == c2:
                distances_.append(distances[i1])
            else:
                distances_.append(1 + min((distances[i1], distances[i1 + 1], distances_[-1])))
        distances = distances_
    return distances[-1]

And a couple of more implementations are here.

47
9/14/2015 7:52:19 AM

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