What Is Linear Data Structure and Its Types?

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Larry Thompson

Linear data structures are an essential concept in computer science and programming. They are used to organize and store data in a sequential manner. In this article, we will explore what linear data structures are and the different types.

What is a Linear Data Structure?
A linear data structure is a collection of elements where each element is accessed and processed sequentially. The elements are stored in a specific order, allowing for efficient access and manipulation of the data.

Types of Linear Data Structures:

1. Arrays:

An array is a collection of elements of the same type, stored in contiguous memory locations.

It provides random access to its elements based on their index values. Arrays have a fixed size, which needs to be defined during their creation.

Arrays can be one-dimensional or multi-dimensional. In one-dimensional arrays, elements are arranged in a single row or column. Multi-dimensional arrays have multiple rows and columns, forming a matrix-like structure.

2. Linked Lists:

A linked list consists of nodes that contain both the data and a reference (or link) to the next node in the sequence. Unlike arrays, linked lists do not require contiguous memory allocation.

There are different types of linked lists:
– Singly Linked List: Each node contains data and a link to the next node.
– Doubly Linked List: Each node contains data, as well as links to both the previous and next nodes.
– Circular Linked List: The last node’s link points back to the first node, creating a circular loop.

3. Stacks:

A stack is an abstract data type that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle. Elements can only be inserted or removed from one end called the top.

Stacks support two main operations:
– Push: Adds an element to the top of the stack.
– Pop: Removes the top element from the stack.

4. Queues:

A queue is an 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 support two main operations:
– Enqueue: Adds an element to the rear of the queue.
– Dequeue: Removes the front element from the queue.

5. Deques:

A deque (double-ended queue) is a linear data structure that allows insertion and deletion of elements from both ends. It combines the features of both stacks and queues, providing flexibility in managing elements.

Deques support four main operations:
– InsertFront: Adds an element to the front. – InsertRear: Adds an element to the rear.

– DeleteFront: Removes an element from the front. – DeleteRear: Removes an element from the rear.

Conclusion:
In conclusion, linear data structures play a crucial role in organizing and manipulating data in computer programming. Arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues, and deques are commonly used linear data structures, each with its own advantages and suitable use cases.

By understanding these different types of linear data structures, programmers can make informed decisions about choosing the most appropriate structure for their specific needs.

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