What Is Push in Data Structure?

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Angela Bailey

The concept of “push” is fundamental in data structure. It refers to the action of inserting an element into a collection, usually at the beginning or end of the collection. Push is commonly used in various data structures such as stacks and queues.

Stacks

A stack is a linear data structure that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle. In other words, the last element pushed into the stack is the first one to be popped out.

The push operation in a stack is crucial for adding new elements on top of the existing ones.

To illustrate this, consider a real-life example of a stack of books. When you add a new book to your stack, you place it on top, and when you want to retrieve a book, you start from the top and work your way down.

This behavior makes push an essential operation for maintaining and manipulating stacks efficiently.

Implementing Push in Stacks

To implement push in a stack using programming languages like C++, Java, or Python, you typically use an array or linked list data structure.

In C++, for example, you can use an array to implement a stack and define the push operation as follows:

#define MAX_SIZE 100

int stack[MAX_SIZE];
int top = -1;

void push(int element) {
    if (top >= MAX_SIZE - 1) {
        // Stack overflow
        return;
    }
    stack[++top] = element;
}

The code snippet above initializes a static array-based implementation of a stack. The push() function takes an element as input and inserts it into the stack[].

It also checks whether there is enough space in the stack to accommodate the new element to avoid stack overflow.

Queues

Unlike stacks, queues follow the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle. The push operation in a queue is used to add elements at the rear end, while the front end is used for removal.

Think of it as a line of people waiting for a bus, where the first person to join the line is the first one to board.

For instance, imagine you’re standing in a queue at a cinema ticket counter. When a new person arrives and wants to join the queue, they will be added at the end.

This behavior highlights how push plays a significant role in maintaining order and managing queues efficiently.

Implementing Push in Queues

Similar to stacks, queues can be implemented using arrays or linked lists in programming languages like C++, Java, or Python.

In Java, you can implement push using an array-based implementation as follows:

final int MAX_SIZE = 100;
int front = 0;
int rear = -1;
int[] queue = new int[MAX_SIZE];

void push(int element) {
    if (rear == MAX_SIZE - 1) {
        // Queue overflow
        return;
    }
    queue[++rear] = element;
}

In this code snippet, we define an array-based implementation of a queue. The push() function takes an element as input and inserts it into queue[].

It also checks whether there is enough space in the queue to accommodate the new element, preventing any potential overflow.

In Conclusion

Understanding the concept of push is crucial when dealing with data structures like stacks and queues. Push allows us to add new elements to these collections in a structured and efficient manner.

Whether you’re working with stacks or queues, the push operation plays a vital role in maintaining order and managing data effectively.

Remember, mastering push is just one step towards becoming proficient in data structures. Continue exploring and experimenting with different operations to deepen your understanding of this fascinating field.

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