Node is a fundamental concept in data structure that plays a crucial role in organizing and storing data efficiently. It serves as building blocks for various data structures like linked lists, trees, graphs, and more. In this article, we will explore the concept of Node in data structure using an example.
What is a Node?
A node is an individual element that contains data and a reference to the next node(s) in the data structure. Each node acts as a container holding information and maintaining connections with other nodes to form a structured arrangement.
Let’s consider an example of a singly linked list to understand the concept of Node better.
Singly Linked List Example
A singly linked list consists of nodes where each node contains two parts: data and next pointer. The data part stores the actual value or information, while the next pointer points to the next node in the list.
Let’s create a simple singly linked list containing three nodes:
- Create Node A with value 10
- Create Node B with value 20
- Create Node C with value 30
To establish connections between these nodes, we set the next pointer of each node to point to its respective successor:
- Node A: Data: 10 | Next Pointer: Points to Node B
- Node B: Data: 20 | Next Pointer: Points to Node C
- Node C: Data: 30 | Next Pointer: Points to NULL (end of list)
The last node in the list has its next pointer set to NULL, indicating the end of the list.
Traversing a Singly Linked List
One of the primary operations performed on a linked list is traversing, which means visiting each node in sequence. Starting from the head node, we can traverse the entire list by following the next pointers until we reach the end of the list (NULL pointer).
For example, to traverse our singly linked list:
- Step 1: Start from Node A.
- Step 2: Access its data (10) and move to the next node using its next pointer (Node B).
- Step 3: Access Node B’s data (20) and move to Node C.
- Step 4: Access Node C’s data (30) and reach NULL, indicating the end of the list.
This way, we can traverse a singly linked list sequentially and perform various operations like searching, inserting, deleting, etc., based on our requirements.
In conclusion, a node is an essential concept in data structure that forms the basic building blocks for organizing and storing data efficiently. In this article, we explored an example of a singly linked list to understand how nodes are interconnected and how they enable traversal through the structure. Understanding nodes helps us grasp more complex data structures and their implementations.
I hope this article provided you with a clear understanding of what a node is in data structure with a practical example. Happy coding!