What Is the Working of LIFO in Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

What Is the Working of LIFO in Data Structure?

Data structures play a crucial role in computer science and programming. They are designed to efficiently organize and store data, allowing for easy access and manipulation.

One commonly used data structure is the LIFO (Last-In-First-Out) structure. In this article, we will explore what LIFO is and how it works.

The Concept of LIFO

LIFO follows the principle of “Last-In-First-Out,” which means that the most recently added item is the first one to be removed. Think of it as a stack of plates – you add new plates on top, and when you need to remove one, you start from the top.

How Does LIFO Work?

In a computer program, LIFO is typically implemented using a stack. A stack is a linear data structure with two primary operations: push and pop. The push operation adds an element to the top of the stack, while the pop operation removes and returns the top element.

Let’s look at an example to understand how LIFO works in practice:

Stack stack = new Stack();


System.out.println(stack.pop()); // Output: Cherry
System.pop()); // Output: Banana
System.pop()); // Output: Apple

In this example, we create a stack object and push three fruits onto it – Apple, Banana, and Cherry. When we call pop(), it removes and returns the top element in reverse order – first Cherry, then Banana, and finally Apple.

Applications of LIFO

LIFO has various applications in computer science. One common use case is managing function calls in a programming language.

When a function is called, its return address and local variables are stored in a stack frame. The most recent function call is executed first, following the LIFO principle.

Another application of LIFO is the “Undo” functionality in many software applications. When you perform an action, it gets added to a stack. If you want to undo the action, the most recent one is popped from the stack and reversed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LIFO

LIFO offers several advantages, including simplicity and efficiency. It requires minimal operations for adding or removing elements, making it efficient for certain scenarios. Additionally, LIFO can be implemented using a fixed-size array or a dynamic data structure like a linked list.

However, LIFO also has its limitations. One major drawback is that it does not allow access to arbitrary elements within the stack.

You can only access the top element and remove it. If you need to access elements in random order or perform operations other than push and pop, a different data structure may be more suitable.


In summary, LIFO (Last-In-First-Out) is a fundamental concept in data structures where the most recently added item is the first one to be removed. It is commonly implemented using a stack and finds applications in various fields of computer science.

Understanding how LIFO works will help you design efficient algorithms and solve problems effectively.

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