What Is Radix in Data Structure?


Angela Bailey

In data structure, a radix is the base or number system used to represent numbers. It determines the number of unique digits (including 0) that can be used to represent values in a positional numeral system. The most common radices used in computer science are binary (base 2), decimal (base 10), octal (base 8), and hexadecimal (base 16).

Binary Radix

Binary radix uses only two unique digits, 0 and 1. It is extensively used in computer systems because it aligns well with binary logic and electronic circuitry. In binary, each digit represents a power of 2, with the rightmost digit being the least significant bit (LSB) and the leftmost digit being the most significant bit (MSB).

Decimal Radix

Decimal radix is the most commonly used number system in everyday life. It uses ten unique digits from 0 to 9. In decimal, each digit represents a power of 10, with the rightmost digit being the ones place and the leftmost digit being the highest place value.

Octal Radix

Octal radix uses eight unique digits from 0 to 7. Octal numbers are commonly used as shorthand representations of binary numbers in computer programming. Each octal digit represents three bits of information.

Hexadecimal Radix

Hexadecimal radix uses sixteen unique digits from 0 to F, where F represents decimal number fifteen. Hexadecimal numbers are commonly used in computer science for representing binary data in a more compact form. Each hexadecimal digit represents four bits of information.

Radix Conversion

Converting a number from one radix to another is a common operation in computer science. To convert a number from radix A to radix B, you typically need to convert it to decimal first, and then from decimal to the desired radix using division and remainder operations.

Radix Sort

Radix sort is an efficient sorting algorithm that works by distributing elements into buckets based on their digits. It performs multiple passes through the data, grouping elements by each digit position from least significant to most significant. Radix sort is commonly used for sorting integers or fixed-length strings.

  • Radix sort has a linear time complexity of O(kn), where n is the number of elements and k is the average number of digits in the input.
  • It can be faster than comparison-based sorting algorithms such as quicksort or mergesort when k is relatively small compared to n.
  • Radix sort is not a stable sorting algorithm, meaning it does not preserve the relative order of elements with equal keys.

In conclusion, understanding the concept of radix in data structure is essential for working with numbers in different bases and performing operations like conversion and sorting efficiently. Knowing how radices work can greatly enhance your understanding of computer systems and algorithms.

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