Some Important Linear Data Structures- at a glance
Singly linked list is the most basic linked data structure. In this the elements can be placed anywhere in the heap memory unlike array which uses contiguous locations. Nodes in a linked list are linked together using a next field, which stores the address of the next node in the next field of the previous node i.e. each node of the list refers to its successor and the last node contains the NULL reference. It has a dynamic size, which can be determined only at run time.
Insert – Inserts a new element at the end of the list.
Delete – Deletes any node from the list.
Find – Finds any node in the list.
Print – Prints the list.
1. Insert – This function takes the start node and data to be inserted as arguments. New node is inserted at the end so, iterate through the list till we encounter the last node. Then, allocate memory for the new node and put data in it. Lastly, store the address in the next field of the new node as NULL.
2. Delete - This function takes the start node (as pointer) and data to be deleted as arguments. Firstly, go to the node for which the node next to it has to be deleted, If that node points to NULL (i.e. pointer->next=NULL) then the element to be deleted is not present in the list. Else, now pointer points to a node and the node next to it has to be removed, declare a temporary node (temp) which points to the node which has to be removed. Store the address of the node next to the temporary node in the next
field of the node pointer (pointer->next = temp->next). Thus, by breaking the link we removed the node which is next to the pointer (which is also temp). Because we deleted the node, we no longer require the memory used for it, free() will deallocate the memory.
3. Find - This function takes the start node (as pointer) and data value of the node (key) to be found as arguments. First node is dummy node so, start with the second node. Iterate through the entire linked list and search for the key. Until next field of the pointer is equal to NULL, check if pointer->data = key. If it is then the key is found else, move to the next node and search (pointer = pointer -> next). If key is not found return 0, else return 1.
4. Print - function takes the start node (as pointer) as an argument. If pointer = NULL, then there is no element in the list. Else, print the data value of the node (pointer->data) and move to the next node by recursively calling the print function with pointer->next sent as an argument.
1. The advantage of a singly linked list is its ability to expand to accept virtually unlimited number of nodes in a fragmented memory environment.
2. The disadvantage is its speed. Operations in a singly-linked list are slow as it uses sequential search to locate a node.
Also try out the MCQ Quiz at the end of this page.
Lists : Linear data structures, contain elements, each of which point to the "next" in the sequence as demonstrated in the examples below ( Simple, Circular and Double Linked Lists are some common kinds of lists ) . Additions and removals can be made at any point in the list - in this way it differs from stacks and queues.
Recommended books for learning Computer Science, learning high quality programming, and preparing for programming interviews:
These are the standard sources of the knowledge expected from candidates interviewing at Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and other startups and top-tier technology companies. The books by Cormen or Sedgewick (a standard part of the undergraduate curriculum) are sufficient for this part of the preparation. Google specially, loves to focus on algorithmic questions.
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