What Is Searching Algorithm in Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

Searching Algorithm is a fundamental concept in the field of Data Structure. It allows us to efficiently find a particular item in a collection of data. In simple words, it helps us to search for a Target element within a given dataset.

Types of Searching Algorithms

There are several types of searching algorithms, each with its own advantages and limitations. Let’s take a closer look at some commonly used searching algorithms:

1. Linear Search

Linear Search, also known as Sequential Search, is the simplest searching algorithm. It involves checking each element in the dataset one by one until the Target element is found or the entire dataset has been traversed.

This algorithm is straightforward to implement, but it can be inefficient for large datasets since it has a time complexity of O(n), where n represents the number of elements in the dataset.

2. Binary Search

Binary Search is a more efficient searching algorithm compared to linear search. However, it requires that the dataset be sorted beforehand in ascending or descending order.

The algorithm works by repeatedly dividing the dataset in half and comparing the middle element with the Target element. If they match, the search is successful. Otherwise, depending on whether the middle element is greater or smaller than the Target element, one half of the dataset is discarded and further divided until either a match is found or there are no more elements left to search.

The time complexity of binary search is O(log n), making it significantly faster than linear search for large datasets.

3. Hashing

Hashing is an efficient searching technique that uses hash functions to map keys (or values) to specific locations within an array called a hash table.

The hash function takes the key as input and computes an index within the hash table. If there are no collisions (i.e., multiple keys hashing to the same index), searching for an element in the hash table becomes a constant time operation, often denoted as O(1).

However, in cases where collisions occur, additional techniques like chaining or open addressing are used to handle them and maintain the efficiency of searching.


In conclusion, searching algorithms play a crucial role in efficiently finding Target elements within datasets. Depending on the characteristics of the dataset and specific requirements, different searching algorithms such as linear search, binary search, or hashing can be employed.

By understanding these algorithms and their time complexities, developers can make informed decisions while implementing search functionality in their applications.

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