What Are the Types of Heap Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

What Are the Types of Heap Data Structure?

A heap is a specialized tree-based data structure that satisfies the heap property. The heap property states that for every node in the heap, the value of that node is either greater than or equal to (in a max heap) or less than or equal to (in a min heap) the values of its children.

Heaps are commonly used in algorithms for sorting, priority queues, and graph algorithms. In this article, we will explore the different types of heap data structures.

1. Binary Heap

The binary heap is one of the most common types of heaps. It is a complete binary tree where each node has at most two children.

In a max binary heap, the value of each node is greater than or equal to the values of its children. In contrast, in a min binary heap, each node’s value is less than or equal to its children’s values.

2. Binomial Heap

A binomial heap is a collection of binomial trees that satisfy the binomial heap property.

A binomial tree of degree ‘k’ has exactly 2^k nodes and follows some specific rules for combining trees within the heap. Binomial heaps offer efficient merge operations and support various operations such as insert, delete minimum, and decrease key operations in logarithmic time complexity.

3. Fibonacci Heap

The Fibonacci heap is an advanced type of data structure that allows efficient execution of priority queue operations compared to other types of heaps.

It provides faster amortized time complexities for insertions, deletions, and some other operations like merging two heaps together. The Fibonacci heap achieves these efficiencies by using a combination of binomial trees and other techniques.

4. Pairing Heap

A pairing heap is a type of heap data structure that supports merging, insertion, and deletion operations in amortized logarithmic time complexity.

It is based on the concept of pairing nodes together to form a tree-like structure. Pairing heaps are known for their simplicity and ease of implementation compared to other types of heaps.

5. Ternary Heap

A ternary heap is a specialized type of heap where each node has at most three children. It is similar to a binary heap but with an additional child.

Ternary heaps can be either min or max heaps, depending on the comparison criteria used for the values in the heap. While ternary heaps are less commonly used than binary heaps, they have some specific applications where having three children per node is advantageous.


Heap data structures play a significant role in various algorithms and data processing tasks. Understanding the different types of heaps, such as binary, binomial, Fibonacci, pairing, and ternary heaps, allows you to choose the most appropriate one for your specific use case.

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of time complexity, ease of implementation, and specific application requirements.

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