Where Is Stack Data Structure Used in Real Life?

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Heather Bennett

Stack data structure is a fundamental concept in computer science. It is widely used in various real-life scenarios for its efficiency and simplicity. In this article, we will explore some of the common applications of stack data structure and understand how it plays a crucial role in solving real-world problems.

1. Function Calls

One of the most common uses of a stack is to manage function calls in programming languages.

When a function is called, the program pushes the function onto the call stack, along with its local variables and return address. As each function completes its execution, it is popped off the stack, and control returns to the calling function.

2. Web Browsers

The back button functionality in web browsers utilizes a stack data structure.

Every time you visit a website, it gets added to your browsing history stack. When you click the back button, the most recently visited website is popped off the stack, allowing you to navigate back to previously visited pages.

3. Undo/Redo Operations

Stacks are commonly used to implement undo and redo operations in applications like text editors or graphic design software.

Every action performed by the user, such as typing or drawing, gets pushed onto a stack. When an undo operation is triggered, the most recent action is popped off the stack and reversed.

4. Expression Evaluation

In many programming languages, stacks are utilized for evaluating arithmetic expressions.

The infix notation expression (e.g., 5 + 3 * 2) can be converted into postfix notation (e., 5 3 2 * +) using a stack-based algorithm called shunting yard algorithm. Once converted, the postfix expression can be easily evaluated using another stack.

5. Browser History

Similar to web browsers, the forward button functionality is also implemented using a stack.

When you navigate back using the back button, the visited websites are pushed onto a stack. If you decide to go forward again, the websites are popped off the stack and added to your browsing history once more.

6. Undo/Redo in Image Editing

Image editing software often includes undo and redo operations for modifications made to images. Each applied effect or modification is stored in a stack-like structure, allowing users to revert changes or reapply them using the redo functionality.

Conclusion

In conclusion, stack data structure is not just limited to theoretical concepts but has numerous real-life applications. From managing function calls and implementing browser functionalities to undoing actions and evaluating expressions, stacks play a vital role in various aspects of computer science and everyday technology we use.

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