What Is the Application of Queue in Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

A queue is a fundamental data structure in computer science that follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle. It is widely used in various applications to manage and process data efficiently. In this article, we will explore the application of queues in data structures and understand how they can be utilized to solve real-world problems.

1. Job Scheduling

One of the primary applications of queues is in job scheduling algorithms. In computer systems, there are often multiple processes or tasks that need to be executed concurrently. By using a queue, we can prioritize and schedule these tasks based on their arrival time or priority level.

For example, consider a printer that receives print requests from multiple users simultaneously. The printer uses a queue to manage these requests by placing them in the order they were received. The first request added to the queue will be processed first, ensuring fairness and preventing any request from being indefinitely delayed.

2. Breadth-First Search

Queues play a crucial role in graph traversal algorithms, especially breadth-first search (BFS). BFS explores all the vertices of a graph at each level before moving on to the next level.

To implement BFS, we start by enqueueing the starting vertex into the queue. Then, while there are vertices in the queue, we dequeue one vertex at a time and process it. During processing, we enqueue all its neighboring vertices that have not been visited yet.

This approach ensures that each level of the graph is explored before moving on to deeper levels, making it valuable for solving problems like finding the shortest path between two nodes or detecting cycles in graphs.

3. Buffer Management

In operating systems and networking applications, buffers are temporary storage areas used to hold data during transfer between two different processes or devices. Queues are widely used to manage these buffers efficiently.

For instance, consider a network router that receives packets from multiple sources and needs to forward them to their destinations. The router uses a queue to store these packets until they can be processed and forwarded. This ensures that packets are processed in the order they arrive, preventing any data loss or disorder.

4. Task Synchronization

Queues are often employed for task synchronization in concurrent programming. In scenarios where multiple threads or processes need to communicate and coordinate their activities, queues provide a reliable mechanism for synchronization.

For example, consider a producer-consumer scenario, where one thread produces data while another consumes it. By using a queue as a shared buffer between the producer and consumer, we can ensure that the producer adds data only when space is available in the queue, and the consumer retrieves data only when it is present.


In conclusion, queues have numerous applications in data structures and algorithms. From job scheduling and graph traversal to buffer management and task synchronization, queues provide an efficient way of managing and processing data in various scenarios.

By understanding the application of queues in different contexts, developers can utilize this powerful data structure to solve complex problems effectively.

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