What Is Data Structure and Its Types Tutorialspoint?
Data structure is a fundamental concept in computer science that refers to the organization, management, and storage of data in a computer system. It provides a way to efficiently store and access data, enabling efficient operations on that data.
Types of Data Structures
Data structures can be classified into various types based on their characteristics and behavior. Let’s explore some of the commonly used data structures:
An array is a collection of elements of the same type stored in contiguous memory locations.
It allows for random access to elements using an index. Arrays are widely used due to their simplicity and efficiency for accessing elements by their position.
2. Linked Lists
A linked list is a linear data structure where each element (node) contains a reference to the next node, forming a chain-like structure.
Linked lists are dynamic in nature and provide efficient insertion and deletion operations compared to arrays. However, accessing elements by index is not as efficient.
A stack is an abstract data type that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle.
Elements can only be added or removed from one end called the top of the stack. Stacks are commonly used in applications that require temporary storage or need to reverse the order of items.
A queue is another abstract data type that follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle.
Elements are inserted at one end called the rear and removed from the other end called the front. Queues are widely used in scenarios like scheduling processes, handling requests, and more.
Trees are hierarchical data structures consisting of nodes connected by edges.
Each node can have zero or more child nodes, forming a tree-like structure. Trees are used to represent hierarchical relationships, such as file systems, organization structures, and decision-making processes.
Graphs are a collection of nodes (vertices) connected by edges.
They are versatile data structures used to represent relationships between entities. Graphs can be directed or undirected and have various applications in areas like social networks, routing algorithms, and data mining.
7. Hash Tables
A hash table is an efficient data structure that maps keys to values using a hash function.
It provides constant-time average complexity for insertion, deletion, and retrieval operations. Hash tables are widely used in applications where quick lookup is required, such as caches and dictionaries.
Data structures play a crucial role in computer science by enabling efficient storage, retrieval, and manipulation of data. Understanding the different types of data structures helps in choosing the appropriate one for specific use cases. By utilizing arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, graphs, and hash tables effectively, developers can optimize their algorithms and create efficient solutions.