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This is a quickly written interface to a suffix tree library to explore different aspects of external data and the use of suffix trees in R for text manipulation. Currently, we use the libstree (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~cpk25/libstree/, download from http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~cpk25/downloads/libstree-0.4.0.tar.gz or more recently from http://www.icir.org/christian/libstree/) source code by Christian Kreibich. Installation of that library is relatively straighforward as it is stand-alone, not depending on other libraries. Unfortunately, to use it easily with another program, the libstree code should be installed. To put it someplace for which you do not need special permissions, use cd libstree-0.4-0 # or whatever the relevant directory is. ./configure --prefix=$HOME/local make install Then use R CMD INSTALL --configure-args=--with-libstree=$HOME/local Rlibstree and that should find the relevant header and libaries files. Specifically, the argument for --prefix when building and installing libstree should be the same as the value for --with-libstree in the R CMD INSTALL. The package provides access to StringSet and SuffixTree classes which are external pointers, i.e. references to the C-level data structures. The package provides an interface to the getLongestSubstring() facilities in libstree for finding the longest common and repeated substring of a given length. These are the algorithms that are currently available in the libstree code. In this R package, one can iterate over the elements in a StringSet using lapply/sapply. The operation can be given as either an R function or a C routine (an object of class "NativeSymbol"). The C routine can be obtained using getNativeSymbolInfo(symbolName). We want the address of that, but methods for lapply will coerce a NativeSymbolInfo appropriately. The ability to use a C routine is intended to illustrate this facility in the R-C interface and also for efficiency. We can add the same for traversing the tree. The longest substring algorithms are suboptimal in this library. So why are we using it? Primarily because we hope the interface design from R to the library will carry over to different implementations. We have used this to provide an illustration of different aspects of S4 classes, external pointers, using C routines in lapply. We will probably move to a different implementation of suffix trees if there is sufficient motivation. Other possible libraries include Shlomo Yona's at http://yeda.cs.technion.ac.il/~yona/suffix_tree/ and Stefan Kurtz's which is part of MUMmer from TIGR (The Institute for Genomic Research) available at sourceforge.net. (See the file src/kurtz/streesrc/streeproto.h for the potentially relevant C routines) or in a different form the wotdsrc.new from http://bibiserv.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de/download/tools/wotd.html associated with the paper http://www.zbh.uni-hamburg.de/staff/kurtz/papers/GieKurSto2003.pdf I have no experience with any of these yet, so take the pointers as merely places to explore.