What Is a Dynamic Data Structure Example?

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Heather Bennett

A dynamic data structure is a type of data structure that can change in size during runtime. It allows for efficient storage and manipulation of data, as it can expand or shrink as needed. One common example of a dynamic data structure is the linked list.

Linked List

A linked list is a collection of nodes, where each node contains a value and a pointer to the next node in the list. Unlike an array, which has a fixed size, a linked list can grow or shrink dynamically.

To illustrate this concept, let’s consider an example of creating a linked list to store a sequence of integers.

Creating a Linked List

To create a linked list, we start with an empty list where the head points to null. As we add elements to the list, we create new nodes and update the pointers accordingly.

Step 1: Create the first node with the value 10.

Node 1:
Value: 10
Next: null

Step 2: Add another node with the value 20. Update the next pointer of the first node to point to this new node.

Node 1:
Value: 10
Next: Node 2

Node 2:
Value: 20
Next: null

Advantages of Linked Lists

The use of linked lists offers several advantages:

  • Dynamic Size: Linked lists can grow or shrink dynamically, allowing for efficient memory usage.
  • Efficient Insertion and Deletion: Adding or removing elements in a linked list is generally faster than in an array, as it only requires updating the pointers.
  • Flexible Memory Allocation: Linked lists can be implemented using various memory allocation techniques, such as heap or stack, depending on the requirements.

Disadvantages of Linked Lists

While linked lists have their advantages, they also have some drawbacks:

  • Sequential Access: Unlike arrays, linked lists do not provide efficient random access to elements. To access an element, we need to traverse the list from the beginning.
  • Extra Memory: Each node in a linked list requires additional memory to store the value and the pointer to the next node. This overhead can be significant for large lists.

Conclusion

In summary, a dynamic data structure like a linked list allows for efficient storage and manipulation of data by dynamically changing its size. It offers advantages such as dynamic size and efficient insertion and deletion. However, it also has disadvantages like sequential access and extra memory usage.

Understanding dynamic data structures like linked lists is essential in computer science and programming. They form the foundation for more complex data structures and algorithms that are used in various applications.

Note: The example provided here focuses on a specific dynamic data structure – a linked list. Other examples of dynamic data structures include stacks, queues, and trees.

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