What Is Tree in Data Structure PDF?


Scott Campbell

A tree is a widely used data structure in computer science and is commonly represented as a hierarchical structure. It is a collection of nodes, where each node has a value and zero or more child nodes. The topmost node in the tree is called the root, and every other node is connected to it through edges.

Tree Terminology

Before delving deeper into trees, let’s familiarize ourselves with some important terminology:

  • Node: A single element in a tree that contains a value and references to its child nodes.
  • Edge: The connection between two nodes.
  • Root: The topmost node of the tree.
  • Parent: A node that has child nodes.
  • Child: A node connected to another node (parent) through an edge.
  • Sibling: Nodes that share the same parent.
  • Leaf: A node without any children.

The Importance of Trees

Trees are fundamental data structures used in various computer science applications. They provide an efficient way to store and retrieve data, making them essential for tasks such as organizing hierarchical data, representing file systems, implementing search algorithms like binary search trees, and much more.

The Advantages of Trees

Trees offer several advantages over other data structures. Some of these advantages include:

  • Hierarchical Structure: Trees allow us to represent hierarchical relationships between different elements efficiently. This makes them ideal for modeling real-world scenarios such as organization charts or family trees.
  • Efficient Search and Insertion: Trees provide quick access to data by facilitating efficient search and insertion operations.

    Binary search trees, for example, allow for fast searching with an average time complexity of O(log n).

  • Ordered Representation: By using specific tree structures like binary search trees or AVL trees, we can store data in a sorted order. This enables efficient range queries and makes them suitable for tasks that involve sorting or ordered traversal.
  • Flexibility: Trees can be used to represent a wide range of relationships and data types. They are not limited to just numerical or alphabetical data but can also accommodate complex objects with multiple attributes.

The Different Types of Trees

Trees come in various forms, each with its own unique characteristics. Some common types of trees include:

Binary Trees

A binary tree is a type of tree where each node has at most two children – left child and right child. The left child is smaller than the parent node, while the right child is greater. Binary trees are commonly used for implementing binary search trees.

Balanced Trees

A balanced tree is a tree in which the heights of the left and right subtrees differ by at most one. Balanced trees ensure that operations such as search, insertion, and deletion have optimal time complexities.


A B-tree is a self-balancing tree that maintains sorted data and allows efficient insertion, deletion, and retrieval operations even when dealing with large amounts of data. B-trees are commonly used in file systems and databases.


Trees are powerful data structures that provide efficient storage and retrieval mechanisms. Understanding the different types of trees and their applications is crucial for developing efficient algorithms and solving complex problems. By incorporating trees into your data structure toolkit, you can enhance your ability to manage and process data effectively.

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