Date of this Version
SIAM J. DISCRETE MATH. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 224–244
Extending results of Christie and Irving, we examine the action of reversals and transpositions on finite strings over an alphabet of size k. We show that determining reversal, transposition, or signed reversal distance between two strings over a finite alphabet is NP-hard, while for “dense” instances we give a polynomial-time approximation scheme. We also give a number of extremal results, as well as investigating the distance between random strings and the problem of sorting a string over a finite alphabet.