1539. Kth Missing Positive Number


Problem Description

The problem provides us with an array arr which contains positive integers in increasing order. Note that the array might not contain some positive integers; hence it's not consecutive. We're also given an integer k. Our goal is to find the kth positive integer that is not present in the array arr.

For example, if the array is [2, 3, 4, 7, 11] and k is 5, we need to find the 5th positive integer missing from this sequence. The missing numbers are [1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10,...], and the 5th one is 9, which will be our answer.

Intuition

To find the kth missing positive integer, we're using a binary search algorithm to optimize the process. Binary search helps us reduce the search space to find the answer quickly, instead of inspecting each missing number one by one—which would be less efficient.

The essence of the solution lies in understanding how we can identify if a number is kth missing or not. Since the array is strictly increasing, the number of positive integers missing before any array element arr[i] can be found as arr[i] - i - 1. This is because if there were no missing numbers, the value at arr[i] would be i + 1.

The binary search algorithm exploits this by repeatedly halving the array to find the smallest arr[i] such that arr[i] - i - 1 is still at least k. The algorithm keeps moving the left or right boundaries according to the comparison of arr[mid] - mid - 1 with k.

Once the left boundary crosses the right boundary, we know that the missing number we are looking for is not in the array. It must be between arr[left - 1] and arr[left] (or after arr[left - 1] if left is equal to the length of the array). Hence, the answer can be computed by adding k to arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1 which is the number of missing numbers before arr[left - 1].

This solution has a time complexity of O(log n), where n is the number of elements in arr, which is significantly faster than a linear search that would have a time complexity of O(n).

Solution Approach

The implemented solution employs a binary search algorithm to efficiently locate the kth missing positive integer in the sorted array arr. Binary search is a popular algorithm for finding an item in a sorted list by repeatedly dividing the search interval in half.

Let's walk through the steps of the algorithm using the provided Python code:

  1. Check if k is less than the first element: Before starting the binary search, it's checked whether arr[0] is greater than k. If it is, k itself is the kth missing number since all k missing numbers are before arr[0]. The code returns k directly in this case.
1if arr[0] > k:
2    return k
  1. Initialize the binary search boundaries: The variables left and right are initialized to represent the search space of the binary search, where left is the start index (0) and right is the length of the array arr.
1left, right = 0, len(arr)
  1. Perform Binary Search: The binary search loop continues until left is less than right. In each iteration, a midpoint mid is calculated. The algorithm checks the number of missing numbers up to arr[mid] by calculating arr[mid] - mid - 1.

    • If the calculated number of missing elements is greater than or equal to k, it means the kth missing number is before or at mid. We set right to mid.
    • If the number is less than k, we move left forward to mid + 1.
1while left < right:
2    mid = (left + right) >> 1
3    if arr[mid] - mid - 1 >= k:
4        right = mid
5    else:
6        left = mid + 1

The >> 1 is a bitwise operation equivalent to dividing by 2, efficiently calculating the mid index.

  1. Calculate and Return the Missing Number: After the loop, the kth missing number is not present in the array, and it must be found after the number at index left - 1. To find it, the formula arr[left - 1] + k - (arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1) is used to calculate how many numbers are missing up to arr[left - 1], and then add k to reach the kth missing number.
1return arr[left - 1] + k - (arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1)

This formula takes the last known value before the kth missing number, adds k, and then subtracts the count of missing numbers before the arr[left - 1] to land exactly on the kth missing number.

This approach results in an effective solution with a time complexity of O(log n), leveraging the power of binary search to drastically reduce the potential search space compared to more naive approaches.

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Example Walkthrough

Let's illustrate the solution approach with an example. Consider the array arr = [2, 3, 7, 11, 12], and we want to find the 5th missing positive integer (k = 5).

  1. Initial check: We first check if the first element of the array is greater than k. Since arr[0] = 2 is not greater than 5, we move on to the binary search. No numbers are returned in this initial step.

  2. Set up binary search: We then initialize the binary search boundaries with left set to 0 and right to the length of the array, which is 5.

  3. Binary search: Next, we begin the binary search:

    • Initial values are left = 0 and right = 5.
    • First iteration: Calculate mid = (0 + 5) >> 1 = 2. At arr[2] = 7, the count of missing numbers is 7 - 2 - 1 = 4, which is less than k = 5. Thus, we update left to mid + 1 = 3.
    • Second iteration: New midpoint is mid = (3 + 5) >> 1 = 4. At arr[4] = 12, the missing count is 12 - 4 - 1 = 7, which is greater than k. Now we update right to mid = 4.
    • Third iteration: As left < right no longer holds (since left = 4 and right = 4), we exit the loop.
  4. Determine answer: We are now left with left = 4. The number in the array at index left - 1 = 3 is arr[3] = 11. From arr[3], we have 11 - 3 - 1 = 7 missing numbers before it. The kth missing number is then calculated as arr[left - 1] + k - (arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1) which equals 11 + 5 - 7 = 9.

Hence, the 5th missing positive integer is 9. This matches our expectation because the missing numbers before 9 are [1, 4, 5, 6, 8], and 9 is indeed the fifth missing number.

Python Solution

1from typing import List
2
3class Solution:
4    def findKthPositive(self, arr: List[int], k: int) -> int:
5        # If the first element is larger than k, the k-th positive missing number would be k
6        if arr[0] > k:
7            return k
8      
9        # Use binary search to find k-th positive missing number
10        left, right = 0, len(arr)
11        while left < right:
12            mid = (left + right) // 2  # Use integer division for Python 3
13          
14            # Calculate the number of negative elements up to index mid
15            missing_until_mid = arr[mid] - mid - 1
16          
17            # If the number of missing elements is greater or equals k, look in the left half
18            if missing_until_mid >= k:
19                right = mid
20            else:
21                left = mid + 1  # Otherwise, look in the right half
22
23        # After binary search, calculate the k-th missing positive number
24        # by adding k to the number at the index `left - 1` in the array 
25        # and then adjust it by subtracting the missing count until that point
26        missing_until_left_minus_one = arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1
27        kth_missing_positive = arr[left - 1] + k - missing_until_left_minus_one
28        return kth_missing_positive
29

Java Solution

1class Solution {
2    public int findKthPositive(int[] arr, int k) {
3        // If the first element in the array is greater than k, the kth missing
4        // positive number would just be k, since all numbers before arr[0] are missing
5        if (arr[0] > k) {
6            return k;
7        }
8
9        // Initializing binary search boundaries
10        int left = 0, right = arr.length;
11        while (left < right) {
12            // Finding the middle index using bitwise operator to avoid overflow
13            int mid = (left + right) >> 1;
14
15            // If the number of missing numbers until arr[mid] is equal to or greater than k
16            // then the kth missing number is to the left of mid, including mid itself
17            if (arr[mid] - mid - 1 >= k) {
18                right = mid;
19            } else {
20                // Otherwise, the kth missing number is to the right of mid, so we move left
21                left = mid + 1;
22            }
23        }
24
25        // Once left is the smallest index such that the number of missing numbers until arr[left] 
26        // is less than k, the kth positive integer that is missing from the array is on the right
27        // of arr[left-1]. To find it, we add k to arr[left-1] and then subtract the number of
28        // missing numbers until arr[left-1] (which is arr[left-1] - (left-1) - 1).
29        return arr[left - 1] + k - (arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1);
30    }
31}
32

C++ Solution

1#include <vector>
2
3class Solution {
4public:
5    int findKthPositive(std::vector<int>& arr, int k) {
6        // If the first element in the array is greater than k, the kth missing
7        // number must be k itself.
8        if (arr[0] > k) {
9            return k;
10        }
11
12        int left = 0;
13        int right = arr.size(); // The right boundary for the binary search.
14
15        // Binary search to find the lowest index such that the number of
16        // positive integers missing before arr[index] is at least k.
17        while (left < right) {
18            int mid = left + (right - left) / 2; // Prevents potential overflow.
19          
20            // If the number of missing numbers up to arr[mid] is at least k,
21            // we need to search on the left side (including mid).
22            if (arr[mid] - mid - 1 >= k) {
23                right = mid;
24            } else {
25                left = mid + 1; // Otherwise, we search on the right side.
26            }
27        }
28
29        // After the loop, left is the smallest index such that the number of
30        // positive integers missing before arr[left] is at least k. Using the
31        // index left - 1, we find the kth missing number.
32        return arr[left - 1] + k - (arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1);
33    }
34};
35

Typescript Solution

1function findKthPositive(arr: number[], k: number): number {
2    // If the first element in the array is greater than k, then the kth missing number must be k itself.
3    if (arr[0] > k) {
4        return k;
5    }
6
7    let left = 0;
8    let right = arr.length; // The right boundary for the binary search.
9
10    // Binary search to find the lowest index such that the number of
11    // positive integers missing before arr[index] is at least k.
12    while (left < right) {
13        let mid = left + Math.floor((right - left) / 2); // Math.floor is used to prevent floats since TypeScript does not do integer division.
14      
15        // If the number of missing numbers up to arr[mid] is at least k,
16        // we need to search on the left side (including mid).
17        if (arr[mid] - mid - 1 >= k) {
18            right = mid;
19        } else {
20            left = mid + 1; // Otherwise, we search on the right side.
21        }
22    }
23
24    // After the loop, left is the smallest index such that the number of
25    // positive integers missing before arr[left] is at least k. Using the
26    // index left - 1, we find the kth missing number.
27    return arr[left - 1] + k - (arr[left - 1] - (left - 1) - 1);
28}
29

Time and Space Complexity

Time Complexity

The provided code uses a binary search algorithm to find the k-th positive integer that is missing from the array arr. This is evident from the while loop that continues halving the search space until left is less than right. In a binary search, the time complexity is O(log n) where n is the number of elements in arr, because with each comparison, the search space is reduced by half.

Space Complexity

The space complexity of the code is O(1) since there are only a few variables used (left, right, mid, k), and no additional data structures or recursive calls that would require more space proportional to the input size. The algorithm operates in-place with constant extra space.

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