What Is Abstract Data Type and Its Types?


Larry Thompson

An abstract data type (ADT) is a high-level description of a set of operations that can be performed on a data structure, without specifying the implementation details. It provides a logical representation of the data and the operations that can be performed on it. ADTs are essential in computer science as they help in organizing and manipulating data efficiently.

Types of Abstract Data Types:

1. Stack:

A stack is an ADT that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle.

In simpler terms, it is like a stack of books where the last book placed is the first one to be removed. The two main operations on a stack are:

  • Push: Adds an element to the top of the stack.
  • Pop: Removes and returns the top element from the stack.

2. Queue:

A queue is an ADT that follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle.

It behaves like a queue of people waiting in line, where the person who joined first gets served first. The two primary operations on a queue are:

  • Enqueue: Adds an element to the rear end of the queue.
  • Dequeue: Removes and returns the front element from the queue.

3. Linked List:

A linked list is an ADT that represents a sequence of elements where each element points to its successor.

Unlike arrays, linked lists don’t require contiguous memory allocation and allow efficient insertion and deletion operations at any position within the list. Linked lists consist of nodes, each containing two fields – data and a reference to the next node. The main operations on a linked list are:

  • Insertion: Adds an element at a specific position in the list.
  • Deletion: Removes an element from the list.

4. Tree:

A tree is an ADT that represents a hierarchical structure with nodes connected by edges.

It is widely used to represent various hierarchical relationships, such as file systems, organization structures, and decision-making processes. Trees consist of nodes, each containing data and references to its child nodes. Some common operations on trees include:

  • Insertion: Adds a new node to the tree.
  • Traversal: Visiting all the nodes of the tree in a specific order.
  • Deletion: Removes a node from the tree while maintaining its structural integrity.

5. Graph:

A graph is an ADT that represents a collection of vertices (nodes) connected by edges.

It models various real-world scenarios like social networks, transportation networks, and computer networks. Graphs have two main components – vertices and edges. Some essential operations on graphs include:

  • Add Vertex: Adds a new vertex to the graph.
  • Add Edge: Connects two vertices with an edge.
  • Delete Vertex: Removes a vertex from the graph along with its associated edges.

In conclusion, abstract data types provide high-level descriptions of common data structures and their associated operations without specifying implementation details. Understanding different types of ADTs is crucial for designing efficient algorithms and data structures in computer science.

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