Which Is FIFO Data Structure?

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Larry Thompson

Which Is FIFO Data Structure?

A FIFO (First-In, First-Out) data structure is a type of collection where the elements are arranged in the order they were added. It follows the principle of “first come, first served.”

This means that the element that enters the data structure first will be the first one to be removed or processed. To better understand this concept, let’s dive deeper into its characteristics and usage.

Characteristics of FIFO Data Structure:

  • Order: As mentioned earlier, the main characteristic of a FIFO data structure is that it maintains the order in which elements are added.
  • Addition: New elements are added at one end of the data structure, commonly known as the “rear” or “end” of the queue.
  • Removal: Elements are removed from the other end, usually referred to as the “front” or “head” of the queue. The element at this position is always the oldest one.
  • Data Access: FIFO structures allow access to only two ends – front and rear. Elements in between cannot be directly accessed.

Usage of FIFO Data Structure:

FIFO data structures find applications in various domains due to their simplicity and ability to maintain order. Some common use cases include:

  • Browsing History: Modern web browsers use a FIFO structure to store your browsing history. Each new URL you visit is added at one end and older URLs are removed from the other end.
  • Print Queue: When multiple print jobs are sent to a printer, they are stored in a FIFO queue.

    The first job sent is the first one to be printed.

  • Task Scheduling: In operating systems, tasks or processes waiting to be executed are often managed using FIFO queues. This ensures fairness in execution order.

Implementation of FIFO Data Structure:

FIFO data structures can be implemented using various programming languages. One common approach is to use an array or a linked list.

In both cases, elements are added at one end and removed from the other.

In array-based implementation, we keep track of two indices: one for the front and another for the rear. The front index points to the oldest element, while the rear index points to the newest element.

When an element is added, it is placed at the rear index and the rear index is incremented. When an element is removed, it is taken from the front index and the front index is incremented.

Linked list-based implementation involves creating a node structure with two pointers: one pointing to the next node (rear) and another pointing to the previous node (front). Nodes are added at the rear end and removed from the front end by updating these pointers accordingly.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what a FIFO data structure is, its characteristics, usage, and implementation methods, you can apply this knowledge in your programming projects or when solving algorithmic problems that require maintaining order in your data.

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