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Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini

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Data structures and algorithms in depth: C++, Swift, Python, Java, C#, JavaScript.

Within the realm of programming languages, predefined data structures are a common inclusion, albeit with variations in names and implementation details across different languages. Although these discrepancies exist, the fundamental principles underlying these structures remain consistent. In this article, we embark on an immersive exploration of data structures, delving into their internal implementations across a range of programming languages. To aid comprehension, we enhance the learning experience with concise animations, offering an intuitive grasp of these essential concepts. This article marks the beginning of a series, where we delve into a range of essential topics. The series will cover the following main subjects:

  • Linear data structures
  • Non-linear data structures
  • Algorithms

●  Memory
      ⚬  Physical layer
      ⚬  Virtual layer
            ◾  Location
            ◾  Arrangement
●  Algorithms
      ⚬  Fundamental operations
      ⚬  Fundamental Algorithms
            ◾  Sorting algorithms
            ◾  Searching algorithms
      ⚬  Algorithm design techniques
●  Data structures
      ⚬  Contiguous Memory data structures
      ⚬  Discontiguous Memory data structures
      ⚬  Combination of CM and DCM
      ⚬  Linear data structures
            ◾  Array
            ◾  DynamicArray
            ◾  RingBuffer
            ◾  LinkedList
            ◾  FreeList
            ◾  DoubleLinkedList
            ◾  CircularLinkedList
            ◾  CircularDoubleLinkedList
            ◾  Stack
                  ◽  Stack via DynamicArray
                  ◽  Stack via LinkedList
                  ◽  Stack via deque
            ◾  Queue
                  ◽  Queue via DoubleLinkedList
                  ◽  Queue via RingBuffer
                  ◽  Queue via Double Stack
                  ◽  Deque as Queue
            ◾  Deque
                  ◽  Deque via DoubleLinkedList
                  ◽  Deque via Array
            ◾  PriorityQueue
                  ◽  PriorityQueue via DynamicArray
                  ◽  PriorityQueue via LinkedList
                  ◽  PriorityQueue via Deque
                  ◽  PriorityQueue via BinaryHeap
            ◾  Associative collections
                  ◽  UnorderedMap or HashTable
                  ◽  OrderedMap via HashTable and LinkedList
                  ◽  OrderedMap via HashTable and DynamicArray
                  ◽  SortedMap via Self Balancing Tree
            ◾  Set
                  ◽  UnorderedSet
                  ◽  OrderedSet via HashTable and LinkedList
                  ◽  SortedSet via Self Balancing Tree
●  standard library data structures
      ⚬  C++
      ⚬  Swift
      ⚬  CSharp
      ⚬  Python
      ⚬  Java
●  Non-Linear data structures
●  Algorithms

Suppose you have a collection of data blocks, denoted as |A|, |B|, |C|, |D|, |E|, and so on. Your objective is to solve a problem by employing an algorithm that processes this data and produces a result. Irrespective of the specific problem or algorithm you opt for, there are certain steps that need to be followed:

  1. Allocate some space (memory) to your data.
  2. Arrange your data-blocks in the allocated space and create a logical relationship(Implicit or explicit) among them (Specify a Data Structure).
  3. Doing Some operations on the data-blocks(Algorithm): These operations may include:
    • Read data-blocks
    • Write data-blocks

Data structures and algorithms are closely intertwined concepts. Certain algorithms exhibit better efficiency when used with specific data structures, and conversely, certain data structures offer advantageous arrangements that enhance the efficiency of particular algorithms. To efficiently solve problems, it is crucial to design both efficient algorithms and appropriate data structures. Designing these efficient solutions necessitates a solid understanding of the fundamentals and analysis techniques involved.


Memory

Physical layer

The physical layer of a computer system is responsible for the actual storage and retrieval of data in electronic or magnetic form. Memory in the physical layer is organized hierarchically, with different types and levels of memory. Types of Memory in the Physical Layer:

  • Registers
  • Cache Memory
  • Main Memory (Random Access Memory - RAM)
  • Secondary memories: (HDD,SSD,...)

Physical memory is invisible to programs in virtual memory systems and as a programmer you're not required to reason about it.

Memory: Virtual layer

Where and how memory is being allocated in virtual layer?

Location

  • Stack: Fast allocation. Faster access.
    1. Moving just an integer pointer allocates/de-allocates memory.
  • Heap: Slow Allocation. Slower access.
    1. Search heap.
    2. Sync heap for other threads.
    3. Allocate memory.

Arrangement

  • Contiguous: Bulk allocation in continuous memory block. (faster access).
  • Discontiguous: Dynamic allocation in separated memory blocks.(slower access).

Algorithms

At the core of all algorithms are the fundamental operations that involve accessing and potentially mutating the data blocks, regardless of how we arrange our data-blocks in memory and what are the logical connections between them. At this level, all algorithms can be reduced to one or some of the following operations.

Fundamental operations

  • read
    • accessDataBySequence() (Either forward or backward)
    • getIndexingInformation(): getStartIndex(), getEndIndex(), getNextIndex(forIndex), getPreviousIndex(forIndex)
    • accessDataAtRandomIndex(:): For Random access, time complexity should be of order O(1).
    • accessDataAtFront()
    • accessDataAtBack()
  • write
    • insertDataAtRandomIndex(:)
    • insertDataAtFront()
    • insertDataAtBack()
    • removeDataAtRandomIndex(:)
    • removeDataAtFront()
    • removeDataAtBack()
    • updateDataAtRandomIndex(:)
    • updateDataAtFront()
    • updateDataAtBack()

For example, Linear search algorithm uses accessDataBySequence and compare each item with a specified value to find the answer while Binary search algorithm needs accessDataAtRandomIndex operation.

A note on Random Access: In the context of data structures, random access refers to the ability to instantly access a specific location. With Array, for instance, if you select a random index, the Array data structure can immediately provide you with the address of that index. However, if you attempt to access a random index in a LinkedList, the data structure cannot instantaneously provide the address. Instead, it must iterate from the beginning (starting from head) until it reaches the desired index. Consequently, LinkedLists are considered to have a time complexity of O(n) (Upper bound) for random access operation. Most algorithms require O(1) random access, and languages such as Java have introduced a marker interface(with no methods) called RandomAccess. This interface serves as a reminder that certain algorithms rely on random access. To ensure that these algorithms perform efficiently with your data structure, it is necessary to make it compatible with random access. The Swift equivalent is a marker protocol RandomAccessCollection.

Fundamental Algorithms

Fundamental operations form the building blocks upon which algorithms are constructed. Conversely, certain algorithms play fundamental rules for other algorithms. Take, for instance, the impact of input data order on the time efficiency of algorithms. Sorting the data beforehand can greatly simplify our lives, as it has a significant positive effect on the efficiency of numerous algorithms. Sorting can be accomplished through two methods. The first method involves utilizing a sorting algorithm to arrange an unsorted collection. The second method involves utilizing specific data structures, such as binary search trees, that facilitate the sorting of data through amortization.

Sorting algorithms

All sort algorithms need getIndexingInformation, accessDataAtRandomIndex(:) operations. Also items must be comparable (unless for non-comparison algorithms).

  • In-place sorting algorithms: They need updateDataAtRandomIndex(:) operation.
    1. Bubble sort
    2. Selection sor
    3. Insertion sort
    4. Heap sort
    5. Quick sort
  • Not In-Place Sorting Algorithms:
    1. Merge sort
    2. Radix sort (non-comparison)
    3. Bucket sort (non-comparison)

Searching algorithms

  • Linear search: needs accessDataBySequence()
  • Binary search: needs accessDataAtRandomIndex(:) with O(1)

Algorithm design techniques

  • Divide and conquer
  • Recursion
  • Randomized algorithms: Input MUST be RANDOM.
  • Dynamic programming
  • Greedy algorithms

In a next article, I will return to the algorithms.


Data structures

Each data structure has the following characteristics:

  • Virtual layer Memory management at the virtual layer.
  • Logical connection between data-blocks, either implicit or explicit.
    • Implicit: In an Array data-blocks have no direct connection, but implicitly they are arranged in a specific order contiguously in memory.
    • Explicit: In LinkedList the blocks may not be stored contiguously in memory, but each node has the connection information to some other nodes.
  • Rules for applying basic operations.
  • Provides basic read and write operations with a space/time complexity. The space/time complexities for data structures for basic operations can easily be analyzed using the following concepts: Contiguous Memory data structures and Discontiguous Memory data structures

Contiguous Memory data structures

  • Init with fixed size. size stays fixed.
  • Address of each block can be calculated via: start + k * blocksize. Random access time complexity is O(1)
  • Bulk memory allocation
  • Same size memory blocks (Same type)
  • Base data Structure example: Array

Contiuous-Memory data structure

Discontiguous Memory data structures

  • This arrangement is a special kind of Graph (We can represent graphs using it).
  • Each block contains the address of next block.
  • Time complexity for random access operation is O(n)
  • Dynamic memory allocation
  • Memory block sizes can be different (Different types).
  • Base data structure example: LinkedList

Discontinuous-Memory data structure

Combination of CM and DCM

  • A contiguous-memory array of pointers to contiguous-memory or discontiguous-memory collection of objects.
  • Time complexity for random access operations is O(1) (via array of pointers) but accessing objects in non-continuous memory have a little overhead.
  • Bulk memory allocation for address (pointer) array, dynamic memory allocation for objects.
  • Objects can have different memory sizes (different types).
  • Base data structure example: An array of referenced objects in most programming languages.

cm_dcm_combiniation

Linear data structures

By employing one or a combination of the aforementioned concepts, basic data structures can be implemented, serving as the foundation for more intricate data structures. Additionally, the space and time complexities, as well as memory costs, can be readily analyzed by leveraging the complexities and costs associated with these fundamental concepts.

Array

In Programming languages, Arrays are built-in types. Array of pointers (or array of reference types) acts like Combination of CM and DCM. For primitive types (or value types like Int, enum, struct in C#,Swift,...) if stored in stack, the behavior is like Contiguous Memory data structures. But if the primitives get boxed and be allocated in the heap, the behavior is like Combination of CM and DCM.

  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as Contiguous Memory data structures
  • Good:
    • accessAtRandomIndex, insertAtBack, removeAtBack operations.
    • Bulk memory allocation (fast).
    • Contiguous memory. Fast access.
    • If used with primitive types (Value types), no dynamic memory allocation cost.
  • Not good:
    • insertAtFront, insertAtMiddle, removeAtFront, removeAtMiddle Operations.
    • Fixed size.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: Array size is compile-time constant.
    • Swift: Arrays in swift are dynamic.
    • Python: Python array size is compile-time constant.
    • Java: array size is compile-time constant.
    • C#: Array size is compile-time constant.
    • JavaScript: Arrays in Javascript are dynamic.

Array_gif

DynamicArray

Similar to array, but can grow at runtime. DynamicArray of pointers (or DynamicArray of reference types) acts like Combination of CM and DCM. For primitive types (or value types like Int, enum, struct in C#,Swift,...) the behavior is like Contiguous Memory data structures. Steps for resizing:

  1. allocate new array with new size
  2. copy the old array values to the new array
  3. delete the old array
  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as Contiguous Memory data structures
  • Good:
    • accessAtRandomIndex, insertAtBack, removeAtBack operations.
    • Bulk memory allocation (fast).
    • If used with primitive types (Value types), no dynamic memory allocation cost.
  • Not good:
    • insertAtFront, insertAtMiddle, removeAtFront, removeAtMiddle Operations.
    • New memory allocations and copy cost when capacity is full.
    • Has unused memory allocation based on growth strategy. For example in Swift programming language, each time an array capacity is full, it double the capacity of the array.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: Vector.
    • Swift: contiguousarray and array are dynamic. When capacity is full, the size gets doubled.
    • Python: list is a dynamic array of pointers to other objects. The behavior is always like Combination of CM and DCM. UserList is a wrapper class that allows you to create your own list-like objects by inheriting from UserList and implementing certain methods. It provides a convenient way to create custom list-like classes without directly subclassing the built-in list class.
    • Java: ArrayList and Vector are dynamic and the difference is that vector is thread-safe.
    • C#: ArrayList and List are dynamic arrays. The difference is that ArrayList is non-generic and can store elements of any while List<T> is a generic class that provides type-safe collections.
    • JavaScript: When it comes to Javascript, things are a little bit different. Array is dynamic and you can add multiple types to it. As Array is an Object and Objects in javascript are HashTables, you can access indices of array using string of indices too! Depending on the type of the values, the behavior of Javascript array is different.
    • In V8 Engine when Array only contains a single primitive type (like integer, float, ...) it’ll be backed by a C++ array of that type and the behavior is like Contiguous Memory data structures.
    • When Array contains more than one of primitive types, the array will be backed by a C++ array of the bigger one and the behavior is the same as above.
    • If the array contains only objects, or a mixture of numbers and objects, it’ll backed by an array of pointers (primitive types will be boxed inside objects). The behavior is like Combination of CM and DCM.
    • When you have a sparse array (WHY?) If it is not too spare, it’ll still be backed by an array, with empty array indices replaced with a ‘hole’ value. If an array is very sparse, it’ll no longer be backed by an array in memory. Instead, it will be backed by a dictionary/hashtable (The key is typically stored as a string representation of the index, and the value is the element itself).

RingBuffer

A ring buffer is a specialized data structure implemented using an array. It is a static-sized buffer where read and write operations occur through two distinct pointers that iterate through the array in a circular manner.

Ring_buffer gif

  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as Array with the following improvement:
    • insertAtFront is O(1)
    • removeAtFront is O(1)
  • Good:
    • accessAtRandomIndex, insert operation.
    • Bulk memory allocation (fast).
    • If used with primitive types (Value types), no dynamic memory allocation cost.
    • As it is fixed-size, we can map it to virtual memory layer memory page to make it super fast.
  • Not good:
    • Fixed size.
    • Write operations may fail if the frequency of writes exceeds the frequency of reads.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: Has no built-in implementation for LinkedList. Here is an implementation.
    • Swift: Has no built-in implementation for LinkedList. Here is an implementation.
    • Python: Has no built-in implementation for LinkedList. Here is an implementation.
    • Java: Has no built-in implementation for LinkedList. Here is an implementation.
    • C#: Has no built-in implementation for LinkedList. Here is an implementation.
    • JavaScript: Has no built-in implementation for LinkedList. Here is an implementation.

LinkedList

LinkedList

  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as Discontiguous Memory data structures with one improvement.
    • insertAtBack() becomes O(1) because we keep track of tail.
    • removeAtBack() stays O(n) because we have to iterate from head to index n-1 to remove n.
  • Good:
    • insertAtFront, removeAtFront, insertAtBack operations.
  • Not good:
    • accessAtRandomIndex, removeAtBack, insertAtMiddle, removeAtMiddle Operations.
    • Dynamic memory allocation (slow).
  • Programming Languages implementations:

LinkedList gif

FreeList

As you have noticed, one of the Not Goods of a LinkedList data structure is dynamic memory allocation. It means, whenever you need a new node, you have to create a new one dynamically using new keyword. Dynamic memory allocation is a heavy task. One way of resolving this issue is to use FreeLists. FreeLists can be thought of as a reservoir for the LinkedList nodes. One approach is to initialize a FreeList with a sequence of nodes and whenever you need a Node for your LinkedList, you get one from the FreeList instance and when you remove a Node from the LinkedList, you will not free the memory, but return it to the FreeList reservoir to be used again later. Another approach is the following implementation for LinkedListNode with a private static freelist. In this implementation, the freelist is not initialized with an initial size but it grows as the new nodes are added.

class LinkListNode<E> {      // Singly linked list node with freelist support
    // Extensions to support freelists
    private static LinkListNode freelist = null;                  // Freelist for the class

    private E value;       // Value for this node
    private LinkListNode<E> next;    // Point to next node in list
    // Constructors
    LinkList(E it, LinkListNode<E> inn) { value = it; next = inn; }
    LinkList(LinkListNode<E> inn) { value = null; next = inn; }

    E element() { return value; }                        // Return the value
    E setElement(E it) { return value = it; }            // Set element value
    LinkListNode<E> next() { return next; }                     // Return next link
    LinkListNode<E> setNext(LinkListNode<E> inn) { return next = inn; } // Set next link

    // Return a new link, from freelist if possible
    static <E> LinkListNode<E> get(E it, LinkListNode<E> inn) {
      if (freelist == null) {
        return new LinkListNode<E>(it, inn);                 // Get from "new"
      }
      LinkListNode<E> temp = freelist;                       // Get from freelist
      freelist = freelist.next();
      temp.setElement(it);
      temp.setNext(inn);
      return temp;
    }

    // Return a link node to the freelist
    void release() {
      value = null;   // Drop reference to the element
      next = freelist;
      freelist = this;
    }
  }
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DoubleLinkedList

DoubleLinkedList

  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as Discontiguous Memory data structures with two improvements:
    • insertAtBack() becomes O(1).
    • removeAtBack() becomes O(1). Now we have access to n-1 from n and we can remove the pointer to n from n-1.
  • Good:
    • insertAtFront, removeAtFront, insertAtBack, removeAtBack operations.
  • Not good:
    • accessAtRandomIndex, insertAtMiddle Operations.
    • Dynamic memory allocation (slow).
    • High overhead of extra storage for the forward and back reference.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: list is doubly linkedList.
    • Swift: Has no built-in implementation for DoubleLinkedList. An implementation can be found here.
    • Python: Has no built-in implementation for DoubleLinkedList. an implementation can be found here.
    • Java: LinkedList is DoubleLinkedList.
    • C#: LinkedList is DoubleLinkedList.
    • JavaScript: Has no built-in implementation for DoubleLinkedList. An implementation can be found here.

DoubleLinkedList gif

CircularLinkedList

CircularLinkedList

  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as LinkedList with some more capabilities.
    • We can traverse to a previous node
    • We can traverse in loop.

CircularDoubleLinkedList

CircularDoubleLinkedList

  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as DoubleLinkedList with some more capabilities.
    • We can traverse to a previous node
    • We can traverse in loop in both direction.

Stack

Stack is a Last-In-First-Out(LIFO) data structure. Any data structure that is Good at insert/remove from one of the ends can be used as a container for Stack. Based on this, stacks can be implemented using DynamicArray (Good at add/remove from the back), LinkedList (Good at add/remove from front), DoubleLinkedList(Good at add/remove from both front and back) and Deque. Each implementation inherits Good and Not Good of the container data structure.

Stack

Stack via DynamicArray
  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as DynamicArray:
  • Methods:
    • push(): insertAtBack on array container.
    • pop: removeAtBack on array container.
  • Good:
    • push() and pop() are O(1) operations.
    • Bulk memory allocation for pointers.
    • If used with primitive types (value types), no dynamic memory allocation cost.
  • Not good:
    • New memory allocations and copy cost when internal array capacity is full.
    • Has unused memory allocation based on growth strategy of the pointer array.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: Stack. In CPP vector, deque and list(DoubleLinkedList) can be used as container for Stack.
    • Swift: Has no Stack in standard library. an implementation can be found here.
    • Python: Has no built-in Stack in standard library but list can be used as stack in python. An implementation can be found here.
    • Java: Stack is implemented with dynamic array.
    • C#: Stack is implemented with dynamic array as the container.
    • JavaScript: has no built-in stack data structure. an implementation can be found here.

Stack via array

Stack via LinkedList
  • Basic operations time complexity: Same as LinkedList. We use Head of LinkedList to insert/remove.
  • Methods:
    • push(): insertAtFront on LinkedList container.
    • pop: removeAtFront on LinkedList container.
  • Good:
    • push() and pop() are O(1) operations.
  • Not good:
    • accessAtRandomIndex is O(n).
    • Dynamic memory allocation (slow).

Stack via linkedlist

Stack via deque

Deque data structure can be implemented using Deque via DoubleLinkedList or Deque via Array. The Deque can serve as a container for a Stack due to its behavior. C++ default container for Stack is deque.

Queue

Queue data structure is First-In-First-Out. Every data structure that is Good at addAtFront and removeAtBack or vice versa can be used as a container for Queue data structure. DoubleLinkedList(Good at add/remove at both ends) can be used as the containers for Queue data structure. Also RingBuffer can be used for fixed size queues. DynamicArray: is not a good container for queue data structure because of O(n) for insert operation. We can amortize this complexity using Queue via Double Stack (Stack via DynamicArray). Another approach is storing contents in multiple smaller arrays, allocating additional arrays at the beginning or end as needed. Indexing is implemented by keeping a dynamic array or a LinkedList containing pointers to each of the smaller arrays. In this case, the cost of inserting reduced from O(n) to the O(small_array.length). This approach is used for deque.

Queue

Queue via DoubleLinkedList
  • Basic operations time complexity: DoubleLinkedList
  • Methods:
    • enqueue(): insertAtFront on DoubleLinkedList container.
    • dequeue(): removeAtBack on DoubleLinkedList container.
  • Good:
    • enqueue() and dequeue() are O(1) operations.
  • Not good:
    • accessAtRandomIndex operation.
    • Extra memory for forward/backward pointers.
    • Dynamic memory allocation (slow).
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: queue in cpp can has deque or list (DoubleLinkedList) as the container. the default container is deque.
    • Swift: Has no built-in implementation for Queue. An implementation can be found here.
    • Python: Has no built-in implementation for Queue but list can be used as queue in python. An implementation can be found here.
    • Java: LinkedList and ArrayDeque have implemented Queue interface.
    • C#:Queue in c# uses circular buffer array.
    • JavaScript: an implementation can be found here.

Queue via doublelinkedlist

Queue via RingBuffer
  • Basic operations time complexity: RingBuffer
  • Methods:
    • enqueue(): insertAtRandomIndex on Array container.
    • dequeue(): accessAtRandomIndex on Array container.
  • Good:
    • enqueue() and dequeue() are O(1) operations.
    • If used for primitive types (value types), No dynamic allocation.
  • Not good:
    • Fixed size, enqueue() may fail.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • C#: Queue in c# uses circular buffer array.

Queue via ringbuffer

Queue via Double Stack

If we use DynamicArray as container for our queue, the dequeue() time complexity would be O(n) (Adding items to start of an array is an O(n) operation ). But we can amortize this complexity to O(1) using two stacks. LeftStack for enqueue() and the RightStack for dequeue(). Each time the LeftStack is empty, copy the RightStack contents to the LeftStack. This operation guarantees First-In-First-Out for the queue.

  • Basic operations time complexity: Similar to Stack via DynamicArray.
  • Methods:
    • enqueue(): insertAtBack on left Array container (the enqueue stack).
    • dequeue(): removeAtBack on right Array container (the dequeue stack).
  • Good:
    • enqueue() and dequeue() are O(1) operations.
    • If used for primitive types (value types), No dynamic allocation.
  • Not good:
    • New memory allocations and copy cost when capacity is full.
    • Has unused memory allocation based on growth strategy.

Queue via doubleStack

Deque as Queue

Deque (Double-Ended Queue) can be used as Queue.

Deque

Deque (Double-Ended Queue) are a type of Queue that enqueue() and dequeue() can happen at both ends. Every data structure that is Good at insert/remove from both ends can be used as a container for Deque data structure. The only data structure that fullfil this requirement is DoubleLinkedList. Array is not a good data structure for implementing Deque data structure directly. However we can use some tricks to use Array as a container for Deque data structure. See Deque via Array.

Deque

Deque via DoubleLinkedList

Implementing a Deque via DoubleLinkedList is straightforward as this data structure has O(1) for insertAtFront/removeAtFront and insertAtBack/removeAtBack operations.

  • Methods:
    • pushBack(): insertAtBack of the DoubleLinkedList container.
    • pushFront(): insertAtFront of the DoubleLinkedList container.
    • popBack(): removeAtBack of the DoubleLinkedList container.
    • popFront(): removeAtFront of the DoubleLinkedList container.
  • Good:
    • Easy implementation
  • Not Good:
    • Random access operation.
    • Dynamic memory allocation (slow).
    • High overhead of extra storage for the forward and back references.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • Python: deque uses DoubleLinkedList internally.

Deque doubleLinkedlist

Deque via Array

As it was the case for Queue data structure, Array cannot be used as a container for Deque data structure directly because insertAtFront/removeAtFront operations are not O(1) for Arrays. We can use one of the following techniques to use Array as a container:

  1. Using a special RingBuffer.
  2. Using an Array and allocating deque contents from the center of the underlying array, and resizing the underlying array when either end is reached.
  3. Storing contents in multiple smaller arrays, allocating additional arrays at the beginning or end as needed. Indexing is implemented by keeping a dynamic array containing pointers to each of the smaller arrays. In this case, the cost of resizing the array in step 2 is eliminated but different small arrays are not allocated contiguously in memory.
  • Good:
    • Random Access operation
  • Not Good
    • More complex implementation
    • Need for array resize when filled
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: Deque uses approach 3 of above mentioned tricks to use Array as container for Deque. In this approach data is stored in smaller arrays and these arrays are linked using a doubleLinkedList or another array.
    • Swift: Has no built-in implementation for LinkedList. An implementation can be found here.
    • Python: deque uses DoubleLinkedList internally.
    • Java: ArrayDeque is implemented using technique 1 of above mentioned tricks (Circular buffer).
    • C#:Deque is implemented using technique 1 of above mentioned tricks (Circular buffer).
    • JavaScript: An implementation can be found here.

deque via ringbuffer

PriorityQueue

PriorityQueue is the same as Queue with one difference. The dequeue operation is not for the first item that has been inserted. Instead the dequeue item is selected based on a priority criteria and the item may be at the front, the middle or the end of the collection. Any data structure that is Good at inserting at one of the ends can be used as a container for PriorityQueue. As finding the item to be dequeued includes a searching phase, for linear data structures as the container for PriorityQueue the time complexity of dequeue operation is O(n). In case of Heap data structure as the container, the time complexity reduces to O(log(n)) due to internal structure of the Heap.

PriorityQueue

PriorityQueue via DynamicArray
  • Methods:
    • enqueue(): insertAtBack on Array container.
    • dequeue(): iterate and then removeAtMiddle on Array container. Time complexity is O(n).
  • Good:
    • enqueue() is O(1) operation.
    • If used for primitive types (value types), No dynamic allocation.
  • Not good:
    • dequeue() operation is O(n).
    • New memory allocations and copy cost when capacity is full.
    • Has unused memory allocation based on growth strategy.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: priority_queue is using deque as a container by default. vector also can be used.
PriorityQueue via LinkedList
  • Methods:
    • enqueue(): insertAtFront on LinkedList container.
    • dequeue(): iterate and then removeAtMiddle on LinkedList container. Time complexity is O(n).
  • Good:
    • enqueue() is O(1) operation.
  • Not good:
    • dequeue() operation is O(n).
    • Dynamic memory allocation (slow).
PriorityQueue via Deque

Deque data structure can be implemented using either Deque via DoubleLinkedList or Deque via Array and PriorityQueue can use it as a container.

PriorityQueue via BinaryHeap
  • Methods:
    • enqueue(): insert on BinaryHeap container.
    • dequeue(): delete on BinaryHeap container.
  • Good:
    • dequeue() is O(log(n)) operation.
  • Not good:
  • Programming Languages implementations:

Associative collections

An associative collection is an abstract data type that stores a collection of (key, value) pairs, ensuring that each possible key appears at most once in the collection. However, there is no standardized naming convention for these types of data structures, leading to varying terminology across different programming languages, which can cause confusion. Some alternative names for associative collections include associative array, map, symbol table, or dictionary. See here.

UnorderedMap or HashTable

Other name is HashTable. The main idea behind a Hashtable is to use a hashing function to map keys to specific buckets or slots in an array. Each bucket can store one or more key-value pairs. Hash functions can occasionally generate the same index for different keys, resulting in a collision. To handle collisions efficiently, Hashtable data structures employ various strategies:

  1. Each bucket in the array is a LinkedList of key-value pairs.
  2. Open addressing
  3. Resizing the Array.

‌For most data structures, a linear search is an O(n) or O(log(n)) operation. HashTable is a data structure with an amortized O(1) time complexity for searching. Length of arrays in a HashTable is a prime number.

HashTable

  • Good:
    • O(1) for search operation.
  • Not Good:
    • Collection has no order. No Random access.
    • If LinkedList used for collision handling: Worst-case for search can be O(n) (All nodes collide). Average-case is not O(1).
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: unordered_map is an unordered collection created using HashTable. Another version is unordered_multimap that allows for repetitive keys. in the unordered_map version the keys are unique.
    • Swift: Dictionary is an unordered collection created using HashTable. The keys are unique.
    • Python: dict is an unordered map created using HashTable. Also Counter is a dictionary specific to counting of values (the key is the item you put in the dictionary and the value is a counter. on each insert, if the value exists, 1 is added to the count). UserDict is a wrapper class that allows you to create your own dictionary-like objects by inheriting from UserDict and implementing certain methods. It provides a convenient way to create custom dictionary-like classes without directly subclassing the built-in dict class. mappingproxy object provides read-only access to the original dictionary's data.
    • Java: HashTable is unordered, thread-safe. HashMap is unordered map created using HashTable.
    • C#: Dictionary is an unordered map created using HashTable. ListDictionary uses a combination of array (for keys) and LinkedList (for values). Operations are all O(n) and it MUST be used for small collections (Less than 10 items).
    • JavaScript: Map is an unordered map.
OrderedMap via HashTable and LinkedList

A collection of key-value pairs. While the order of the insertion is preserved, the collection is not sorted.

OrderedMap

  • Good:
    • Order of the insertion is preserved. (Unlike SortedMap, the keys are not sorted.)
    • accessDataBySequence is possible.
  • Not Good:
    • No random access with O(1) because of LinkedList.
    • High overhead of extra storage for the forward and back reference.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • Python: OrderedDic is implemented using a combination of a doubly linked list and a dictionary.
    • Java: LinkedHashMap. In Java, the LinkedHashMap class uses a combination of a hash table and a doubly linked list as its internal data structure to provide the functionality of a hash map with predictable iteration order.
OrderedMap via HashTable and DynamicArray

A collection of key-value pairs. While the order of the insertion is preserved, the collection is not sorted.
OrderedMap via array

  • Good:
    • Order of the insertion is preserved. (Unlike SortedMap, the keys are not sorted.)
    • accessDataBySequence is possible.
    • accessDataAtRandomIndex is O(1).
  • Not Good:
    • insert is O(n) because of array.
    • remove is O(n) because of array.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
SortedMap via Self Balancing Tree

A collection of key-value pairs which is sorted by the key.

  • Good:
    • Search is O(log(n))
    • keys are sorted.
  • Not Good:
    • Random access is not O(1).
    • Suitable for small number of data.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: map uses Red-Black Tree for implementation. Another version is multimap which allows duplicate keys. In the map version, keys are unique.
    • Swift: Swift has no built-in Ordered map using tree data structure. You can sort the keys of a dictionary to a collection and iterate that collection.
    • Python: Swift has no built-in Ordered map using tree data structure.
    • Java: TreeMap is implemented using a Red-Black Tree as its internal data structure.
    • C#: SortedDictionary is implemented internally using a self-balancing binary search tree called a Red-Black Tree. SortedList uses two separate arrays. one for the keys and the second for the values. As the array for the keys is sorted, when a new item is inserted, the index is found via binary search. The time complexity for inserting is O(n). Binary search is O(log(n))and the items re-arrangement is O(n).
    • JavaScript: an implementation can be found here.

Set

UnorderedSet

It is almost exactly like UnorderedMap or HashTable with the distinction that the node has only a key and no value exists. In Java, it is implemented using HashTable and the values for the nodes are set to a fixed value.

  • Good:
    • O(1) for search operation.
  • Not Good:

    • Collection has no order. No Random access.
    • If LinkedList used for collision handling: Worst-case for search can be O(n). Average-case is not O(1).
  • Programming Languages implementations:

    • CPP: unordered_set is an unordered collection created using HashTable. Another version is unordered_multiset that allows for duplicate keys. in the unordered_set version the keys are unique.
    • Swift: Set is an unordered collection created using HashTable. The keys are unique.
    • Python: Set is an unordered set created using HashTable. frozenset is an immutable set.
    • Java: HashSet is an unordered set created using HashTable.
    • C#: HashSet is an unordered set created using HashTable.
    • JavaScript: Set is an unordered set.
OrderedSet via HashTable and LinkedList

It is almost exactly like OrderedMap via HashTable and LinkedList with the distinction that the node has only a key and no value exists. In Java, it is implemented using HashTable and the values for the nodes are set to a fixed value.

  • Good:
    • Order of the insertion is preserved. (Unlike SortedSet, the keys are not sorted.)
  • Not Good:
    • No random access with O(1) because of LinkedList.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • Java: LinkedHashSet. In Java, the LinkedHashSet class uses a combination of a hash table and a doubly linked list as its internal data structure to provide the functionality of a hash set with predictable iteration order.
SortedSet via Self Balancing Tree
  • Good:
    • Search is O(log(n))
    • keys are sorted.
  • Not Good:
    • Random access is not O(1).
    • Suitable for small number of data.
  • Programming Languages implementations:
    • CPP: set uses Red-Black Tree for implementation. Another version is multiset which allows duplicate keys. In the Set version, keys are unique.
    • Swift: Swift has no built-in Ordered set. You can sort the keys of a set to a collection and iterate that collection.
    • Python: Python has no built-in Ordered set.
    • Java: TreeSet is implemented using a Red-Black Tree as its internal data structure.
    • C#: SortedSet is implemented internally using a self-balancing binary search tree called a Red-Black Tree.
    • JavaScript: An implementation can be found here.

standard library data structures

C++

Cpp dsa

Swift

Swift source code for collections can be found here.
Swift ds diagram

CSharp

Dotnet source code for collections can be found here.

C# ds diagram

Python

Source code for python built-in types can be found here. Collection module source code is located here.

python dsa

Java

Java collections source code is located here.

Java ds diagram


Non-Linear data structures

Coming soon

Algorithms

Coming soon

Top comments (1)

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mshashikanth1 profile image
shashi

great collection