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Manual Reference Pages  -  ALGORITHM::BINPACK (3)

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Algorithm::BinPack - efficiently pack items into bins



Algorithm::BinPack efficiently packs items into bins. The bins are given a maximum size, and items are packed in with as little empty space as possible. An example use would be backing up files to CD, while minimizing the number of discs required.

    my $bp = Algorithm::BinPack->new(binsize => 4);

    $bp->add_item(label => "one",   size => 1);
    $bp->add_item(label => "two",   size => 2);
    $bp->add_item(label => "three", size => 3);
    $bp->add_item(label => "four",  size => 4);

    for ($bp->pack_bins) {
        print "Bin size: ", $_->{size},  "\n";
        print "  Item: ",   $_->{label}, "\n" for @{ $_->{items} };


new Creates a new Algorithm::BinPack object. The maximum bin size is specified as a named argument ’binsize’, and is required. A fudge factor may be specified as a named argument ’fudge’. If a fudge factor is specified, item sizes will be rounded up to a number divisible by the fudge factor. This can help keep items with similar sizes in order by their labels.

    my $bp = Algorithm::BinPack->new(binsize => 4);
    my $bp = Algorithm::BinPack->new(binsize => 100, fudge => 10);

add_item Adds an item to be packed into a bin. Required named arguments are ’label’ and ’size’, but any others can be specified, and will be saved. An optional ’bin’ argument can be used to manually put an item into the specified bin.

    $bp->add_item(label => one,  size => 1);
    $bp->add_item(label => two,  size => 2, desc => The second numeral);
    $bp->add_item(label => zero, size => 3, bin => 0);
    $bp->add_item(qw(label three size 3));
    $bp->add_item(qw(label four size 4 random key));

prefill_bin (Deprecated method) add_item now knows how to handle the ’bin’ argument directly, so this method is redundant.
pack_bins Packs the items into bins. This method tries to leave as little empty space in each bin as possible. It returns a list of hashrefs with the key ’size’ containing the total bin size, and ’items’ containing an arrayref holding the items in the bin. Each item is in turn a hashref containing the keys ’label’, ’size’, and any others added to the item. If a fudge factor was used, each item will contain a key ’fudgesize’, which is the size this item was fudged to.

    for my $bin ($bp->pack_bins) {
        print "Bin size: ", $bin->{size}, "\n";
        for my $item (@{ $bin->{items} }) {
            printf "  %-6s %-20s\n", $_, $item->{$_} for keys %{ $item };
            print  "  ---\n";


This module implements the bin packing algorithm described in ’The Algorithm Design Manual’ by Steven S. Skiena.

This module is similar to Algorithm::Bucketizer, but has a few key differences. The algorithms in Algorithm::Bucketizer are based on optimization by multiple iterations, so the module is set up differently. By contrast, the algorithm used in Algorithm::BinPack is predictable, and does not require multiple iterations. The name also reflects the well-known name of the problem. Searching for variations on bin packing finds more relevant results than variations on bucketizer.


Carey Tilden <>


Andrew ’Terra’ Gillespie <> - prefill_bin


Copyright (C) 2004-05 by Carey Tilden

This code is dual licensed. You may choose from one of the following: A Creative Commons license that allows free use, while requiring attribution. The I Really Could Care Less About You Public License.


Hey! <B>The above document had some coding errors, which are explained below:B>
Around line 214: You forgot a ’=back’ before ’=head1’
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perl v5.20.3 ALGORITHM::BINPACK (3) 2005-03-16

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