What Data Structure Is Used to Find the Level Order Traversal?


Heather Bennett

What Data Structure Is Used to Find the Level Order Traversal?

When it comes to traversing a tree data structure, one of the most commonly used techniques is the level order traversal. This traversal method visits each node in a tree level by level, starting from the root and moving down to its children, then to their children, and so on.

Queue: The Ideal Data Structure

To efficiently perform a level order traversal, we need a data structure that supports two operations:

  • Enqueue: Add an element at the end of the data structure.
  • Dequeue: Remove an element from the front of the data structure.

The queue data structure fits these requirements perfectly. It follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle, making it an excellent choice for implementing level order traversal.

The Algorithm

The algorithm for performing a level order traversal using a queue is as follows:

  1. Create an empty queue.
  2. Enqueue the root of the tree into the queue.
  3. Start a loop until the queue becomes empty:
    • a) Dequeue an element from the front of the queue and print its value.
    • b) Enqueue its left child (if any) into the queue.
    • c) Enqueue its right child (if any) into the queue.

This algorithm ensures that each node is visited in a breadth-first manner. It starts from the root and explores all its immediate children before moving on to their children.


Let’s take a look at an example to understand how the level order traversal works:

       / \
      2   3
     / \   \
    4   5   6

By following the level order traversal algorithm, we would visit the nodes in the following order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.


The level order traversal is a useful technique for exploring tree data structures. By using a queue as the underlying data structure, we can efficiently visit each node level by level. This ensures that we cover all nodes in a breadth-first manner.

Remember to keep this algorithm and the role of queues in mind whenever you need to traverse a tree using the level order method!

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