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Interview Problem: Binary Tree Reverse Level Order Traversal

ayanb profile image Ayan Banerjee Originally published at notescs.gitlab.io on ・2 min read

Given a binary tree, print its reverse level order traversal. For example, given this tree -

    3
   / \
  2   8
     / \
    1   9

print -

[
    [1, 9],
    [2, 8],
    [3]
]

Approach - 1: BFS

We can simply perform a BFS traversal and reverse the resulting traversal.

animated-bfs

By Blake Matheny - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

vector<vector<int>> levelOrderBottom(TreeNode* root) {
    vector<vector<int>> bfsTraversal;
    // perform bfs
    queue<TreeNode*> q;
    if (root) q.push(root);
    while(!q.empty()) {
        int levelSize = q.size();
        vector<int> curLevelTraversal(levelSize);
        for (int i = 0; i < levelSize; ++i) {
            TreeNode* current = q.front();
            q.pop();
            curLevelTraversal[i] = current -> val;
            if (current -> left) q.push(current -> left);
            if (current -> right) q.push(current -> right);
        }
        bfsTraversal.push_back(curLevelTraversal);
    }
    reverse(bfsTraversal.begin(), bfsTraversal.end());
    return bfsTraversal;
}

Time Complexity: O(N) due to BFS

Space Complexity: O(N) as we are storing nodes in the queue

Approach - 2: DFS

This problem can also be solved using DFS. It’s important that we should visit the left child first and then the right child. As we go from a parent node to its child nodes, we increase the level. We also store them in a vector and return its reverse.

void dfs(TreeNode *node, vector<vector<int>> &reverseLevelTraversal, int level) {
    if (node == nullptr) return;
    if (level >= reverseLevelTraversal.size()) {
        reverseLevelTraversal.push_back({});
    }
    reverseLevelTraversal[level].push_back(node -> val);
    // increase level if when we go to children nodes
    dfs(node -> left, reverseLevelTraversal, level + 1);
    dfs(node -> right, reverseLevelTraversal, level + 1);
}

vector<vector<int>> levelOrderBottom(TreeNode* root) {
    vector<vector<int>> reverseLevelTraversal;
    // start with level 0
    dfs(root, reverseLevelTraversal, 0);
    reverse(reverseLevelTraversal.begin(), reverseLevelTraversal.end());
    return reverseLevelTraversal;
}

Time Complexity: O(N) due to DFS

Space Complexity: O(N) for recursion stack space

Exercise: Use stack to perform DFS.

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