How Do Trees Represent in Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

Trees are an important concept in data structures. They represent a hierarchical structure that consists of nodes connected by edges. Each node can have zero or more child nodes, forming a tree-like structure.

What is a Tree?
A tree is a non-linear data structure that resembles a real-life tree. It consists of nodes and edges, where each node represents an element, and the edges represent the relationship between the nodes. The topmost node is called the root, and it does not have any parent nodes.

Key Terminologies:
Before we dive deeper into trees, let’s get familiar with some key terminologies associated with them:

  • Node: A fundamental unit of a tree that holds data and has connections to other nodes.
  • Edge: A connection between two nodes.
  • Root: The topmost node in a tree that has no parent node.
  • Parent: A node that has one or more child nodes connected to it.
  • Child: Nodes directly connected to a parent node.
  • Sibling: Nodes that have the same parent.
  • Leaf: Nodes with no children; they are at the end of the tree branches.

Type of Trees

Binary Trees

A binary tree is a special type of tree where each node can have at most two child nodes: left child and right child. This type of tree is widely used in various algorithms and data structures.

BST (Binary Search Tree)

A binary search tree is a binary tree in which for each node, all elements in the left subtree are smaller than the node, and all elements in the right subtree are greater than the node. This property makes searching, insertion, and deletion operations efficient.

Balanced Trees

Balanced trees are trees that ensure the height difference between left and right subtrees is minimal. This property allows for efficient searching, insertion, and deletion operations.

AVL Tree

An AVL tree is a self-balancing binary search tree. It automatically maintains its balance by performing rotations whenever necessary. The height difference between left and right subtrees of any node is at most 1.

Red-Black Tree

A red-black tree is another self-balancing binary search tree. It ensures that no path from the root to a leaf is more than twice as long as any other path. The nodes in a red-black tree can be either red or black, which helps maintain balance during operations.

Applications of Trees

  • Trees are used in file systems to represent directories and subdirectories.
  • Trees are used in databases to organize data efficiently.
  • Trees are used in network routing algorithms to find the shortest path.
  • Trees are used for representing hierarchical data like organization structures or family trees.


Trees play a vital role in computer science and data structures. They provide an efficient way to represent hierarchical relationships between various elements.

Understanding different types of trees and their applications can greatly enhance your problem-solving skills.

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