Average Case Analyses of List Update Algorithms, with Applications to Data Compression

We study the performance of the Timestamp (0) (TS(0)) algorithm for self-organizing sequential search on discrete memoryless sources. We demonstrate that TS(0) is better than Move-to-front on such sources, and determine performance ratios for TS(0) against the optimal off-line and static adversaries in this situation. Previous work on such sources compared on-line algorithms only with static adversaries. One practical motivation for our work is the use of the Move-to-front heuristic in various compression algorithms. Our theoretical results suggest that in many cases using TS(0) in place of Move-to-front in schemes that use the latter should improve compression. Tests using implementations on a standard corpus of test documents demonstrate that TS(0) leads to improved compression.