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Find the n-th binary string in sorted order
• Difficulty Level : Easy
• Last Updated : 17 Jun, 2021

Given a positive integer n, the task is to find the nth string in the following infinite list of all possible strings over two symbols a and b sorted lexicographically (Dictionary).

a, b, aa, ab, ba, bb, aaa, aab, aba, abb, baa, bab, bba, bbb, aaaa, …

Examples:

Input: n = 6
Output: bb

Input: n = 11
Output: baa

A simple approach is to generate all strings up to n and then determine the nth string. However, the approach is not suitable for large values of n.

An efficient approach is based on the fact that the number of length k strings that can be generated using 2 symbols is 2k. Based on this we can calculate the relative index from the actual index(n) with respect to the length of the string in the list. The string at nth index can then be determined easily using binary form of the relative index as the list is sorted. The following formula is used for calculation,

relative index = n + 1 – 2floor(log(n + 1))

Consider the following example:

Let n = 11 then floor(log(n + 1)) = 3
This suggests that index n consists of a length 3 string and length 3 strings start form (23 – 1) = 7th index and 7th index contains the string “aaa”.
Therefore, relative index = 11 + 1 – 23 = 4
This is the index relative to 7. Now, the string at index n = 11 can be simply obtained from the binary interpretation of the relative index 4
Here 0 means a and 1 means b. The table below illustrates this:

Hence the string present at 11th index (relative index 4) is “baa”

Below is the implementation of the above approach:

## C++

 `// C++ implementation of the above approach``#include ``using` `namespace` `std;``#define ll long long int` `// Function to return the nth string in the required sequence``string obtain_str(ll n)``{` `    ``// Length of the resultant string``    ``ll len = (``int``)log2(n + 1);` `    ``// Relative index``    ``ll rel_ind = n + 1 - ``pow``(2, len);` `    ``ll i = 0;``    ``string str = ``""``;``    ``for` `(i = 0; i < len; i++) {` `        ``// Initial string of length len consists of``        ``// all a's since the list is sorted``        ``str += ``'a'``;``    ``}` `    ``i = 0;` `    ``// Convert relative index to Binary form and set``    ``// 0 = a and 1 = b``    ``while` `(rel_ind > 0) {``        ``if` `(rel_ind % 2 == 1)``            ``str[i] = ``'b'``;``        ``rel_ind /= 2;``        ``i++;``    ``}` `    ``// Reverse and return the string``    ``reverse(str.begin(), str.end());``    ``return` `str;``}` `// Driver function``int` `main()``{``    ``ll n = 11;``    ``cout << obtain_str(n);` `    ``return` `0;``}`

## Java

 `// Java Implementation of the above approach``import` `java.io.*;``import` `java.util.*;``class` `Gfg {` `    ``// Function to return the nth string in the required sequence``    ``static` `String obtain_str(``int` `n)``    ``{``        ``// Length of the resultant string``        ``int` `len = (``int``)Math.floor((Math.log(n + ``1``) / Math.log(``2``)));` `        ``// Relative Index``        ``int` `rel_ind = n + ``1` `- (``int``)Math.pow(``2``, len);` `        ``int` `i = ``0``;``        ``StringBuilder str = ``new` `StringBuilder();``        ``for` `(i = ``0``; i < len; i++) {` `            ``// Initial string of length len consists of``            ``// all a's since the list is sorted``            ``str.append(``'a'``);``        ``}` `        ``i = ``0``;` `        ``// Convert relative index to Binary form and set``        ``// 0 = a and 1 = b``        ``while` `(rel_ind > ``0``) {``            ``if` `(rel_ind % ``2` `== ``1``)``                ``str.setCharAt(i, ``'b'``);``            ``rel_ind /= ``2``;``            ``i++;``        ``}` `        ``// Reverse and return the string``        ``str = str.reverse();``        ``return` `str.toString();``    ``}` `    ``// Driver funtion``    ``public` `static` `void` `main(String args[])``    ``{``        ``int` `n = ``11``;``        ``System.out.print(obtain_str(n));``    ``}``}`

## Python3

 `# Python3 implementation of the``# above approach` `# from math lib import log2 function``from` `math ``import` `log2` `# Function to return the nth string``# in the required sequence``def` `obtain_str(n) :` `    ``# Length of the resultant string``    ``length ``=` `int``(log2(n ``+` `1``))` `    ``# Relative index``    ``rel_ind ``=` `n ``+` `1` `-` `pow``(``2``, length)` `    ``i ``=` `0``    ``string ``=` `""``    ` `    ``for` `i ``in` `range``(length) :` `        ``# Initial string of length len consists``        ``# of all a's since the list is sorted``        ``string ``+``=` `'a'` `    ``i ``=` `0``    ` `    ``string_list ``=` `list``(string)``    ` `    ``# Convert relative index to Binary``    ``# form and set 0 = a and 1 = b``    ``while` `(rel_ind > ``0``) :``        ``if` `(rel_ind ``%` `2` `=``=` `1``) :``            ``string_list[i] ``=` `'b'``            ` `        ``rel_ind ``/``/``=` `2``        ``i ``+``=` `1``    ` `    ``# Reverse and return the string``    ``string_list.reverse()``    ``string ``=` `"".join(string_list)``    ` `    ``return` `string` `# Driver Code``if` `__name__ ``=``=` `"__main__"` `:` `    ``n ``=` `11``    ``print``(obtain_str(n))` `# This code is contributed by Ryuga`

## C#

 `// C# Implementation of the above approach``using` `System;``using` `System.Text;` `class` `GFG``{` `    ``// Function to return the nth string``    ``// in the required sequence``    ``static` `String obtain_str(``int` `n)``    ``{``        ``// Length of the resultant string``        ``int` `len = (``int``)Math.Floor((Math.Log(n + 1) /``                                    ``Math.Log(2)));` `        ``// Relative Index``        ``int` `rel_ind = n + 1 - (``int``)Math.Pow(2, len);` `        ``int` `i = 0;``        ``StringBuilder str = ``new` `StringBuilder();``        ``for` `(i = 0; i < len; i++)``        ``{` `            ``// Initial string of length len consists of``            ``// all a's since the list is sorted``            ``str.Append(``'a'``);``        ``}` `        ``i = 0;` `        ``// Convert relative index to Binary form and set``        ``// 0 = a and 1 = b``        ``while` `(rel_ind > 0)``        ``{``            ``if` `(rel_ind % 2 == 1)``                ``str[i]=``'b'``;``            ``rel_ind /= 2;``            ``i++;``        ``}` `        ``// Reverse and return the string``        ``return` `reverse(str.ToString());``    ``}``    ` `    ``static` `String reverse(String input)``    ``{``        ``char``[] a = input.ToCharArray();``        ``int` `l, r = a.Length - 1;``        ``for` `(l = 0; l < r; l++, r--)``        ``{``            ``char` `temp = a[l];``            ``a[l] = a[r];``            ``a[r] = temp;``        ``}``        ``return` `String.Join(``""``, a);``    ``}``    ` `    ``// Driver funtion``    ``public` `static` `void` `Main(String []args)``    ``{``        ``int` `n = 11;``        ``Console.Write(obtain_str(n));``    ``}``}` `// This code is contributed by PrinciRaj1992`

## PHP

 ` 0)``    ``{``        ``if` `(``\$rel_ind` `% 2 == 1)``            ``\$str``[``\$i``] = ``'b'``;``        ``\$rel_ind` `= (int)(``\$rel_ind` `/ 2);``        ``\$i``++;``    ``}` `    ``// Reverse and return the string``    ``return` `strrev``(``\$str``);``}` `// Driver Code``\$n` `= 11;``echo` `obtain_str(``\$n``);` `// This code is contributed``// by chandan_jnu``?>`

## Javascript

 ``
Output:
`baa`

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