# Rearrange characters in a string such that no two adjacent are same

• Difficulty Level : Hard
• Last Updated : 19 May, 2022

Given a string with repeated characters, the task is to rearrange characters in a string so that no two adjacent characters are same.
Note : It may be assumed that the string has only lowercase English alphabets.

Examples:

Input: aaabc
Output: abaca

Input: aaabb
Output: ababa

Input: aa
Output: Not Possible

Input: aaaabc
Output: Not Possible

Approach (using priority_queue):
The idea is to put the highest frequency character first (a greedy approach). We use a priority queue (Or Binary Max Heap) and put all characters and ordered by their frequencies (highest frequency character at root). We one by one take the highest frequency character from the heap and add it to result. After we add, we decrease the frequency of the character and we temporarily move this character out of priority queue so that it is not picked next time.

We have to follow the step to solve this problem, they are:

• Build a Priority_queue or max_heap, pq that stores characters and their frequencies.
• Priority_queue or max_heap is built on the bases of the frequency of character.
• Create a temporary Key that will be used as the previously visited element (the previous element in the resultant string. Initialize it { char = ‘#’ , freq = ‘-1’ }
• While pq is not empty.
• Pop an element and add it to the result.
• Decrease frequency of the popped element by ‘1’
• Push the previous element back into the priority_queue if it’s frequency > ‘0’
• Make the current element as the previous element for the next iteration.
• If the length of the resultant string and original string is not equal, print “not possible”. Else print result.

Below is the implementation of above idea:

## C++

 `// C++ program to rearrange characters in a string``// so that no two adjacent characters are same.``#include ``using` `namespace` `std;` `const` `int` `MAX_CHAR = 26;` `struct` `Key {``    ``int` `freq; ``// store frequency of character``    ``char` `ch;` `    ``// function for priority_queue to store Key``    ``// according to freq``    ``bool` `operator<(``const` `Key& k) ``const``    ``{``        ``return` `freq < k.freq;``    ``}``};` `// Function to rearrange character of a string``// so that no char repeat twice``void` `rearrangeString(string str)``{``    ``int` `n = str.length();` `    ``// Store frequencies of all characters in string``    ``int` `count[MAX_CHAR] = { 0 };``    ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < n; i++)``        ``count[str[i] - ``'a'``]++;` `    ``// Insert all characters with their frequencies``    ``// into a priority_queue``    ``priority_queue pq;``    ``for` `(``char` `c = ``'a'``; c <= ``'z'``; c++) {``          ``int` `val = c - ``'a'``;``        ``if` `(count[val]) {``            ``pq.push(Key{ count[val], c });``        ``}``    ``}` `    ``// 'str' that will store resultant value``    ``str = ``""``;` `    ``// work as the previous visited element``    ``// initial previous element be. ( '#' and``    ``// it's frequency '-1' )``    ``Key prev{ -1, ``'#'` `};` `    ``// traverse queue``    ``while` `(!pq.empty()) {``        ``// pop top element from queue and add it``        ``// to string.``        ``Key k = pq.top();``        ``pq.pop();``        ``str = str + k.ch;` `        ``// IF frequency of previous character is less``        ``// than zero that means it is useless, we``        ``// need not to push it``        ``if` `(prev.freq > 0)``            ``pq.push(prev);` `        ``// make current character as the previous 'char'``        ``// decrease frequency by 'one'``        ``(k.freq)--;``        ``prev = k;``    ``}` `    ``// If length of the resultant string and original``    ``// string is not same then string is not valid``    ``if` `(n != str.length())``        ``cout << ``" Not valid String "` `<< endl;` `    ``else` `// valid string``        ``cout << str << endl;``}` `// Driver program to test above function``int` `main()``{``    ``string str = ``"bbbaa"``;``    ``rearrangeString(str);``    ``return` `0;``}`

## Java

 `// Java program to rearrange characters in a string``// so that no two adjacent characters are same.``import` `java.io.*;``import` `java.util.*;` `class` `KeyComparator ``implements` `Comparator {` `    ``// Overriding compare()method of Comparator``    ``public` `int` `compare(Key k1, Key k2)``    ``{``        ``if` `(k1.freq < k2.freq)``            ``return` `1``;``        ``else` `if` `(k1.freq > k2.freq)``            ``return` `-``1``;``        ``return` `0``;``    ``}``}` `class` `Key {``    ``int` `freq; ``// store frequency of character``    ``char` `ch;``    ``Key(``int` `val, ``char` `c)``    ``{``        ``freq = val;``        ``ch = c;``    ``}``}` `class` `GFG {``    ``static` `int` `MAX_CHAR = ``26``;` `    ``// Function to rearrange character of a string``    ``// so that no char repeat twice``    ``static` `void` `rearrangeString(String str)``    ``{``        ``int` `n = str.length();` `        ``// Store frequencies of all characters in string``        ``int``[] count = ``new` `int``[MAX_CHAR];` `        ``for` `(``int` `i = ``0``; i < n; i++)``            ``count[str.charAt(i) - ``'a'``]++;` `        ``// Insert all characters with their frequencies``        ``// into a priority_queue``        ``PriorityQueue pq``            ``= ``new` `PriorityQueue<>(``new` `KeyComparator());``        ``for` `(``char` `c = ``'a'``; c <= ``'z'``; c++) {``            ``int` `val = c - ``'a'``;``            ``if` `(count[val] > ``0``)``                ``pq.add(``new` `Key(count[val], c));``        ``}` `        ``// 'str' that will store resultant value``        ``str = ``""``;` `        ``// work as the previous visited element``        ``// initial previous element be. ( '#' and``        ``// it's frequency '-1' )``        ``Key prev = ``new` `Key(-``1``, ``'#'``);` `        ``// traverse queue``        ``while` `(pq.size() != ``0``) {` `            ``// pop top element from queue and add it``            ``// to string.``            ``Key k = pq.peek();``            ``pq.poll();``            ``str = str + k.ch;` `            ``// If frequency of previous character is less``            ``// than zero that means it is useless, we``            ``// need not to push it``            ``if` `(prev.freq > ``0``)``                ``pq.add(prev);` `            ``// make current character as the previous 'char'``            ``// decrease frequency by 'one'``            ``(k.freq)--;``            ``prev = k;``        ``}` `        ``// If length of the resultant string and original``        ``// string is not same then string is not valid``        ``if` `(n != str.length())``            ``System.out.println(``" Not valid String "``);``        ``else``            ``System.out.println(str);``    ``}` `    ``// Driver program to test above function``    ``public` `static` `void` `main(String args[])``    ``{``        ``String str = ``"bbbaa"``;``        ``rearrangeString(str);``    ``}``}` `// This code is contributed by rachana soma`
Output
`babab`

Time complexity : O(n log(n))

Another approach: Another approach is to fill all the even positions of the result string first, with the highest frequency character. If there are still some even positions remaining, fill them first. Once even positions are done, then fill the odd positions. This way, we can ensure that no two adjacent characters are the same.

## C++14

 `#include ``using` `namespace` `std;` `char` `getMaxCountChar(``const` `vector<``int``>& count)``{``    ``int` `max = 0;``    ``char` `ch;``    ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < 26; i++) {``        ``if` `(count[i] > max) {``            ``max = count[i];``            ``ch = ``'a'` `+ i;``        ``}``    ``}` `    ``return` `ch;``}` `string rearrangeString(string S)``{` `    ``int` `n = S.size();``    ``if` `(!n)``        ``return` `""``;` `    ``vector<``int``> count(26, 0);``    ``for` `(``auto` `ch : S)``        ``count[ch - ``'a'``]++;` `    ``char` `ch_max = getMaxCountChar(count);``    ``int` `maxCount = count[ch_max - ``'a'``];` `    ``// check if the result is possible or not``    ``if` `(maxCount > (n + 1) / 2)``        ``return` `""``;` `    ``string res(n, ``' '``);` `    ``int` `ind = 0;``    ``// filling the most frequently occurring char in the even``    ``// indices``    ``while` `(maxCount) {``        ``res[ind] = ch_max;``        ``ind = ind + 2;``        ``maxCount--;``    ``}``    ``count[ch_max - ``'a'``] = 0;` `    ``// now filling the other Chars, first filling the even``    ``// positions and then the odd positions``    ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < 26; i++) {``        ``while` `(count[i] > 0) {``            ``ind = (ind >= n) ? 1 : ind;``            ``res[ind] = ``'a'` `+ i;``            ``ind += 2;``            ``count[i]--;``        ``}``    ``}``    ``return` `res;``}` `// Driver program to test above function``int` `main()``{``    ``string str = ``"bbbaa"``;``    ``string res = rearrangeString(str);``    ``if` `(res == ``""``)``        ``cout << ``"Not valid string"` `<< endl;``    ``else``        ``cout << res << endl;``    ``return` `0;``}`

## Java

 `/*package whatever //do not write package name here */` `import` `java.io.*;` `class` `GFG {``  ``static` `char` `getMaxCountChar(``int``[] count)``  ``{``    ``int` `max = ``0``;``    ``char` `ch = ``0``;``    ``for` `(``int` `i = ``0``; i < ``26``; i++) {``      ``if` `(count[i] > max) {``        ``max = count[i];``        ``ch = (``char``)((``int``)``'a'` `+ i);``      ``}``    ``}``    ``return` `ch;``  ``}` `  ``static` `String rearrangeString(String S)``  ``{` `    ``int` `n = S.length();``    ``if` `(n==``0``)``      ``return` `""``;` `    ``int``[]count = ``new` `int``[``26``];``    ``for``(``int` `i=``0``;i<``26``;i++){``      ``count[i] = ``0``;``    ``}``    ``for` `(``char` `ch : S.toCharArray()){``      ``count[(``int``)ch - (``int``)``'a'``]++;``    ``}`  `    ``char` `ch_max = getMaxCountChar(count);``    ``int` `maxCount = count[(``int``)ch_max - (``int``)``'a'``];` `    ``// check if the result is possible or not``    ``if` `(maxCount > (n + ``1``) / ``2``)``      ``return` `""``;` `    ``String res = ``""``;``    ``for``(``int` `i=``0``;i ``0``) {``      ``res = res.substring(``0``,ind) + ch_max + res.substring(ind+``1``);``      ``ind = ind + ``2``;``      ``maxCount--;``    ``}``    ``count[(``int``)ch_max - (``int``)``'a'``] = ``0``;` `    ``// now filling the other Chars, first filling the even``    ``// positions and then the odd positions``    ``for` `(``int` `i = ``0``; i < ``26``; i++) {``      ``while` `(count[i] > ``0``) {``        ``ind = (ind >= n) ? ``1` `: ind;``        ``res = res.substring(``0``,ind) + (``char``)((``int``)``'a'` `+ i) + res.substring(ind+``1``);``        ``ind += ``2``;``        ``count[i]--;``      ``}``    ``}``    ``return` `res;``  ``}` `  ``// Driver Code``  ``public` `static` `void` `main(String args[])``  ``{``    ``String str = ``"bbbaa"``;``    ``String res = rearrangeString(str);``    ``if` `(res == ``""``)``      ``System.out.println(``"Not valid string"``);``    ``else``      ``System.out.println(res);``  ``}``}` `// This code is contributed by shinjanpatra`

## Python3

 `# Python program for rearranging characters in a string such``# that no two adjacent are same` `# Function to find the char with maximum frequency in the given``# string``def` `getMaxCountChar(count):``  ``maxCount ``=` `0``  ``for` `i ``in` `range``(``26``):``    ``if` `count[i] > maxCount:``        ``maxCount ``=` `count[i]``        ``maxChar ``=` `chr``(i ``+` `ord``(``'a'``))` `  ``return` `maxCount, maxChar` `# Main function for rearranging the characters``def` `rearrangeString(S):``  ``n ``=` `len``(S)``  ` `  ``# if length of string is None return False``  ``if` `not` `n:``      ``return` `False``    ` `  ``# create a hashmap for the alphabets``  ``count ``=` `[``0``] ``*` `26``  ``for` `char ``in` `S:``      ``count[``ord``(char) ``-` `ord``(``'a'``)] ``+``=` `1`  `  ``maxCount, maxChar ``=` `getMaxCountChar(count)` `  ``# if the char with maximum frequency is more than the half of the``  ``# total length of the string than return False``  ``if` `maxCount > (n ``+` `1``) ``/``/` `2``:``      ``return` `False` `  ``# create a list for storing the result``  ``res ``=` `[``None``] ``*` `n` `  ``ind ``=` `0` `  ``# place all occurrences of the char with maximum frequency in``  ``# even positions``  ``while` `maxCount:``      ``res[ind] ``=` `maxChar``      ``ind ``+``=` `2``      ``maxCount ``-``=` `1``      ` `  ``# replace the count of the char with maximum frequency to zero``  ``# as all the maxChar are already placed in the result``  ``count[``ord``(maxChar) ``-` `ord``(``'a'``)] ``=` `0` `  ``# place all other char in the result starting from remaining even``  ``# positions and then place in the odd positions``  ``for` `i ``in` `range``(``26``):``      ``while` `count[i] > ``0``:``          ``if` `ind >``=` `n:``              ``ind ``=` `1``          ``res[ind] ``=` `chr``(i ``+` `ord``(``'a'``) )``          ``ind ``+``=` `2``          ``count[i] ``-``=` `1`  `  ``# convert the result list to string and return``  ``return` `''.join(res)` `# Driver Code``str` `=` `'bbbaa'``res ``=` `rearrangeString(``str``)``if` `res:``  ``print``(res)``else``:``  ``print``(``'Not valid string'``)``  ` `# This code is contributed by Manish Thapa`

## Javascript

 ``
Output
`babab`

Time complexity : O(n)
Auxiliary Space : O(n+26) where 26 is the size of the vocabulary.

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