What Python Data Type Represents a Stack?


Scott Campbell

A stack is a data structure that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle. In Python, the built-in list data type can be used to represent a stack.

Python List as a Stack

In Python, a list is an ordered collection of elements enclosed within square brackets and separated by commas. It supports various operations such as adding elements, removing elements, and accessing elements by their index.

To use a list as a stack, we can utilize the built-in methods:

  • append(element): This method adds an element to the top of the stack by appending it to the end of the list.
  • pop(): This method removes and returns the last element added to the stack (topmost element).

Let’s see an example:

stack = [] # Initialize an empty list

# Pushing elements onto the stack
print(stack) # Output: [10, 20, 30]

# Popping elements from the stack
topmost_element = stack.pop()
print(topmost_element) # Output: 30
print(stack) # Output: [10, 20]

Checking if a Stack is Empty

We can check if a stack is empty by using the len() function. If the length of the stack is zero, it means that there are no elements in it.

stack = []

if len(stack) == 0:
print(“Stack is empty”)
print(“Stack is not empty”)

Accessing the Topmost Element of a Stack

To access the topmost element of a stack without removing it, we can use indexing. The last element added to the stack (topmost element) is present at index -1.

stack = [10, 20, 30]
topmost_element = stack[-1]
print(topmost_element) # Output: 30


In Python, the list data type provides an efficient way to represent a stack. By using the append() and pop() methods, we can easily add and remove elements from the stack. Additionally, we can check if a stack is empty using len(), and access the topmost element using indexing.

Using a list as a stack allows us to implement LIFO behavior efficiently and effectively in Python programs.

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