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Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms along with need of data structures with its classification

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Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms

Data Structure can be defined as the group of data elements which provides an efficient way of storing and organising data in the computer so that it can be used efficiently. Some examples of Data Structures are arrays, Linked List, Stack, Queue, etc.

Need of Data Structures

As applications are getting complexed and amount of data is increasing day by day, there may arise the following problems:

  • Data Search − Consider an inventory of 1 million(106) items of a store. If the application is to search an item, it has to search an item in 1 million(106) items every time slowing down the search. As data grows, search will become slower.

  • Processor speed − Processor speed although being very high, falls limited if the data grows to billion records.

  • Multiple requests − As thousands of users can search data simultaneously on a web server, even the fast server fails while searching the data.

In order to solve the above problems, data structures are used. Data is organized to form a data structure in such a way that all items are not required to be searched and required data can be searched instantly.

Data Structures Classification

Data Structures Classification

Linear Data Structures: A data structure is called linear if all of its elements are arranged in the linear order. In linear data structures, the elements are stored in non-hierarchical way where each element has the successors and predecessors except the first and last element.

Types of Linear Data Structures are:

  • Array
  • Linked List
  • Stack
  • Queue

Non Linear Data Structures: This data structure does not form a sequence i.e. each item or element is connected with two or more other items in a non-linear arrangement. The data elements are not arranged in sequential structure.

Types of Non Linear Data Structures are:

  • Tree
  • Graph

Operations on Data Structures

1. Traversing- It is used to access each data item exactly once so that it can be processed.

2. Searching- It is used to find out the location of the data item if it exists in the given collection of data items.

3. Inserting- It is used to add a new data item in the given collection of data items.

4. Deleting- It is used to delete an existing data item from the given collection of data items.

5. Sorting- It is used to arrange the data items in some order i.e. in ascending or descending order in case of numerical data and in dictionary order in case of alphanumeric data.

6. Merging- It is used to combine the data items of two sorted files into single file in the sorted form.

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