What Is Node in Data Structure With Example?
A node is a fundamental building block in data structures. It is a data structure that contains a piece of data and one or more references or links to other nodes. Nodes are used to create various data structures such as linked lists, trees, graphs, and more.
In simple terms, a node can be thought of as an object that holds information and points to other objects. Each node in a data structure has its own unique characteristics and properties.
A node typically consists of two parts:
- Data: This is the actual information or value that the node holds. It could be any type of data, such as an integer, string, object, or even another data structure.
- Reference: This is a pointer or link that connects the node to another node. It specifies the next node in a linked list or one of the child nodes in a tree.
Example – Linked List Node
Let’s take an example of a linked list to understand nodes better. In a singly linked list, each node contains two parts: data and reference.
<!-- HTML code for representing linked list nodes --> <div class="node"> <span class="data">5</span> <span class="next">→</span> </div> <div class="node"> <span class="data">10</span> <span class="next">→</span> </div> <div class="node"> <span class="data">15</span> <span class="next">→</span> </div>
In the above example, we have three nodes in a linked list. Each node contains a data field and a next field. The data field holds the actual value, while the next field points to the next node in the list.
Nodes play a crucial role in performing various operations on data structures. Some common operations include:
- Insertion: Adding a new node to a data structure.
- Deletion: Removing an existing node from a data structure.
- Traversal: Visiting each node in a data structure.
- Searching: Finding a specific node or value within a data structure.
The ability to manipulate nodes allows us to modify and interact with different data structures effectively.
In summary, a node is an essential concept in data structures. It acts as a container that holds both data and references, enabling the creation of complex and interconnected structures. Understanding nodes is crucial for building efficient algorithms and solving various problems efficiently.