# Maximum Product of Word Lengths

Given an array of strings words, return the maximum value of the product of lengths where two words do not share any common letters. The strings only contain lowercase letters.

Example 1

Input: words = [“a”, “bcd”, “foo”, “ba”]
Output: 9
Explanation: Maximum possible product of length of words which do not share any common letter = length(“bcd”) * length(“foo”) = 9

Example 2

Input: [“a”,“ab”,“abc”,“d”,“cd”,“bcd”,“abcd”]
Output: 4
Explanation: The two words can be “ab”, “cd”.

## Approach 1: Bit Manipulation

This problem can be solved using bitmasking. Since the number of characters are limited to only 26, datatype of int can be used for masking.

### Intuition

Let us consider only 4 characters in our alphabet: a, b, c and d. We set all the unique characters’ bit from left. Note how the masking is done in the following example:

Word d c b a Masked Value (in binary)
aaaa 0 0 0 1 0001
abcaa 0 1 1 1 0111
abcd 1 1 1 1 1111
bbbc 0 1 1 0 0110

Now, if we perform AND (&) operation and obtain 0, the words do not share common characters (see the example of “aaaa” and “bbbc” above).

### Implementation

In C++:

int maxProduct(vector<string>& words) {
vector<int> masks(words.size());
for (int i = 0; i < (int)words.size(); ++i) {
for (char c: words[i]) {
// set the (c - 'a')-th bit from left
masks[i] |= 1 << (c - 'a');
}
}
int ans = 0;
for (int i = 0; i < (int)words.size(); ++i) {
for (int j = 0; j < i; ++j) {
// If AND between two masks is zero, that means
// they do not share common characters
if ((masks[i] & masks[j]) == 0) {
ans = max(ans, (int)words[i].length() * (int)words[j].length());
}
}
}
return ans;
}

Implementation note: If the number of unique characters were more, we could have used bitset.

### Complexity Analysis

• Time Complexity: $O(N ^ 2 + N * M)$ where $N =$ number of words and $M =$ average length of the words
• Space Complexity: $O(N)$ required for storing the masks

## Approach 2: Bit Manipulation with Pruning

### Intuition

We can improve the performance by sorting the words in descending length order. This will guarantee that we will get the larger strings first. We can further improve the performance by lazily computing the masks. Though it doesn’t change the time complexity, it should run faster than the previous implementation.

### Implementation

int maxProduct(vector<string>& words) {
sort(words.begin(), words.end(), [](const string &u, const string &v){
return u.length() > v.length();
});
int ans = 0;
vector<int> masks(words.size());
for (int i = 0; i < (int)words.size(); ++i) {
// prune
if (ans >= words[i].length() * words[0].length()) return ans;
// compute mask for the current word only and
// the store it in the vector
int &mask = masks[i];
for (char c: words[i]) {
// set the (c - 'a')-th bit from left
mask |= 1 << (c - 'a');
}
for (int j = 0; j < i; ++j) {
if ((mask & masks[j]) == 0) {
ans = max(ans, (int) words[i].length() * (int)words[j].length());
}
}
}
return ans;
}

### Complexity Analysis

• Time Complexity: $O(N ^ 2 + N * M)$ where $N =$ number of words and $M =$ average length of the words. We don’t need to add the sorting time complexity $O(NlogN)$, since we have a larger term $N^2$ in the complexity expression
• Space Complexity: $O(N)$ required for storing the masks