What Is Set in Data Structure?


Angela Bailey

What Is Set in Data Structure?

A set is a fundamental data structure in computer science that represents a collection of unique elements. It is commonly used to solve problems involving membership testing, duplicates removal, and intersection/union operations.

Create a Set

In Python, you can create a set by enclosing the elements within curly braces ({}) or by using the built-in set() function. For example:

my_set = {1, 2, 3}
another_set = set([4, 5, 6])

Add and Remove Elements from a Set

You can add elements to a set using the .add() method:


To remove an element from a set, you can use the .remove() method:


Perform Set Operations

Sets support various operations such as:

  • Union: Combining two sets to create a new set containing all unique elements from both sets.
  • Intersection: Finding common elements between two sets.
  • Difference: Finding elements that are present in one set but not in another.
  • Subset: Checking if one set is a subset of another.

To perform these operations, you can use operators or built-in methods like | for union, & for intersection, - for difference, and .issubset() for subset checking.

set1 = {1, 2, 3}
set2 = {3, 4, 5}

union_set = set1 | set2
intersection_set = set1 & set2
difference_set = set1 - set2

print(union_set) # Output: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}
print(intersection_set) # Output: {3}
print(difference_set) # Output: {1, 2}
print(set1.issubset(set2)) # Output: False

Set Properties

In a set:

  • The elements are unordered.
  • The elements are unique (no duplicates).

This makes sets efficient for membership testing and removing duplicates from a collection of elements. However, sets do not maintain the order of insertion.


A set is a versatile data structure that allows you to store unique elements and perform various operations efficiently. Whether you need to check membership, remove duplicates or perform operations like union and intersection, sets can be a powerful tool in your programming arsenal.

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