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A suffix tree is a tool often used to analyze text strings. It is a type of digital tree that uses algorithmic methods to reveal the structure of a string and its subsets. It is a type of Patricia tree, a structure that is used to store a set of strings.
Suffix trees can be used for many things. Generally, these trees hold all of the subsets of a given text string. With that in mind, other text strings can be matched against the suffix tree to figure whether they are included in the initial string input.
The suffix tree has been developed over time by such figures as Weiner and McCreight in the 1970s, and Ukkonen in the 1990s. Visual adaptations of a suffix tree show how the subsets of the text string are handled by the algorithm. Alternately, a suffix tree can be shared in mathematical notation.
Suffix trees are generally used for finding specific sub-patterns within a greater set of strings. Programmers use the suffix tree search to make searches efficient, to find each instance where a given substring is represented in the data structure. Suffix tree searches may be used to find DNA sequences, research coordinates or any other kind of string data.