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edit distances

version (125 KB) by Boris Schauerte
Edit distances for strings and key lists (i.e. cell arrays of strings or other elements).

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Updated 17 Aug 2015

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This package provides implementations of the Levenshtein, Damerau-
Levenshtein, and weighted edit distance for strings as well as key lists
(i.e. cell arrays of strings or arbitrary other elements).
This code is part of the work described in [1]. In [1], edit distances are
applied to match linguistic descriptions that occur when referring to objects
(in order to achieve joint attention in spoken human-robot / human-human

[1] B. Schauerte, G. A. Fink, "Focusing Computational Visual Attention
in Multi-Modal Human-Robot Interaction," in Proc. ICMI, 2010.


Cite As

Boris Schauerte (2020). edit distances (, GitHub. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (3)


I also get incorrect l-d distances when transpositions are involved. Error is on line 76 of edit_distance_damerau.m, which should read:

d(i-2,j-2) + cost, ...

Note the " + cost" was missing. There is a similar error in the edit_distance_damerau_keylist.m file

In the transposition part, "d(i-2,j-2)" should be "d(i-1,j-1)", otherwise cumulative costs don't carry forward.

I get incorrect values for a swap with levenshtein-damerau:

14> edit_distance_damerau('smtih', 'smith')
ans = 0

ans should be 1, with the swapping of "ti"

Otherwise nice code -- I am using it to understand this algorithm


- moved to Github
- fixed Damerau
- added example

- extended the interface of the cell array functions: now you can use arbitrary compare functions and cell content
- added a simple usage example

- updated the description

- bugfix (thanks for the helpful comments of "forkandwait w")

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2009b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux