What Is Adjacent Nodes in Data Structure?

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Heather Bennett

In data structures, adjacent nodes refer to the nodes that are directly connected to a particular node. These nodes can be found in various data structures like trees, graphs, and linked lists. Understanding adjacent nodes is essential for performing operations on these data structures efficiently.

Adjacent Nodes in Trees

In a tree data structure, each node can have multiple child nodes. The child nodes that are directly connected to a parent node are considered adjacent nodes.

For example, in a binary tree, each node can have at most two child nodes – left and right. These child nodes are adjacent to the parent node.

Example:

Consider the following binary tree:

        1
       / \
      2   3
     / \
    4   5

In this tree, the adjacent nodes of node 1 are nodes 2 and 3. Similarly, the adjacent nodes of node 2 are nodes 4 and 5.

Adjacent Nodes in Graphs

In a graph data structure, adjacent nodes refer to the vertices that share an edge with a particular vertex. These vertices are directly connected to each other and can be reached from one another through an edge.

Consider the following graph:

     A----B
     |    |
     C----D

In this graph, the adjacent vertices of vertex A are B and C. Similarly, the adjacent vertices of vertex B are A and D.

Adjacent Nodes in Linked Lists

A linked list is a linear data structure where each element (node) contains a reference pointing to the next element. In a singly linked list, each node has only one reference to the next node. Therefore, the adjacent node of a particular node in a linked list is the next node in the sequence.

Consider the following linked list:

    1 -> 2 -> 3 -> 4 -> 5

In this linked list, the adjacent node of node 1 is node 2. Similarly, the adjacent nodes of nodes 2, 3, and so on can be determined by following their respective next references.

Understanding the concept of adjacent nodes is crucial for performing various operations on data structures. It helps in traversing through the structure efficiently and accessing neighboring elements as required.

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