Which Data Structure Is Used in Solution to a Bounded Buffer Problem?


Angela Bailey

Which Data Structure Is Used in Solution to a Bounded Buffer Problem?

When dealing with the bounded buffer problem, it is essential to choose the appropriate data structure to efficiently manage the limited buffer space. In this article, we will explore some commonly used data structures that can be employed to solve this problem.

Bounded Buffer Problem

The bounded buffer problem arises in scenarios where there is a need for communication between two or more processes or threads. One process (the producer) produces data items and places them into a fixed-size buffer, while another process (the consumer) retrieves and consumes these items from the buffer. However, if the producer tries to add an item when the buffer is full or if the consumer tries to retrieve an item when the buffer is empty, synchronization issues can occur.

Data Structures for Bounded Buffer

Several data structures can be used to address the bounded buffer problem effectively. Let’s explore three commonly employed ones:

1. Circular Buffer

A circular buffer, also known as a ring buffer, is an excellent choice for implementing a bounded buffer. It utilizes a fixed-size array that wraps around itself, allowing elements to be added or removed at both ends of the array simultaneously.

The circular buffer employs two pointers: one for tracking the position of the next element to be read (head) and another for tracking the position of the next element to be written (tail). When either pointer reaches either end of the array, it wraps around back to the opposite end.

This structure ensures efficient use of memory and simplifies implementation since it avoids costly shifting operations when adding or removing elements.

2. Queue

A queue is another suitable choice for solving the bounded buffer problem. It follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle, where items are added at one end (rear) and removed from the other end (front).

When implementing a bounded buffer using a queue, it is crucial to set a maximum size for the queue. If the queue becomes full, the producer will have to wait until space becomes available. Similarly, if the queue becomes empty, the consumer will have to wait until new items are added.

3. Array with Pointers

An array with pointers is a simple yet effective data structure for solving the bounded buffer problem. It uses an array to store elements and two pointers: one pointing to the first element (front) and another pointing to the last element (rear).

When adding an item to a full buffer, it is necessary to check whether there is space available before insertion. If there is no free space, synchronization mechanisms can be employed to handle this situation.

This data structure’s advantage lies in its simplicity and ease of implementation compared to other more complex structures.


The choice of data structure in solving the bounded buffer problem depends on various factors such as efficiency requirements, implementation complexity, and synchronization mechanisms used.

In this article, we explored three common data structures employed in solving this problem: circular buffer, queue, and array with pointers. Each has its advantages and considerations that need to be taken into account when implementing solutions.

By understanding these data structures’ characteristics and trade-offs, you will be better equipped to choose the most suitable one for your specific bounded buffer problem.

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