I used a max heap in which I hold pairs like, number i (index of the sign) and frequency of that sign. Each time I pop out from that heap the 2 index with maximal frequency, decrement their frequency and update the heap from their indexes.
I was sure that there is a more simplier aproach to that problem(like greedy), without using heap, but I was just 99.9% sure that with heap I will got AC, and so it was. :)
The same here. I'm using heap, but I'm pulling entries one by one, decrementing and not adding them back until next entry is pulled. I was 146% sure this would work when I decided to implement this algo and it not that bad in terms of time: O(n log k). But I wondered if there is a simple straightforward algo that also would work. Turned out there is.