Introduction to Data Structures

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Data Structures

Data structures are a particular way of storing and organizing data in a computer so that it can be used efficiently.

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A data structure is a way of organizing all the data items that considers not only the element stored but also their relationship to each other.

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Data can be organized in many different ways. Logical and mathematical model of a particular organization of data is called as Data Structures.

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Data Structure is a representation of the logical relationship existing between individual elements of the data.

Data structures are used in almost every program or software system. Specific data structures are essential ingredients of many efficient algorithms and make possible the management of huge amount of data , such as large databases and internet indexing services.

Data Structures are the building blocks of a program and hence the selection of particular data structure depends on the following:

  • The data Structure should be rich enough to reflect the relationship of the data in the real world.
  • The structure should be simple, so that we can process the data effectively whenever and wherever required

The design of an efficient data structure must take into account all the operations to be performed on the data. After evaluating the operations to be performed on the data structure, an abstract data type is defined, which is used subsequently in the programs.

The most commonly used operations on the data structure are:

Traversal:

Accessing / going through each record/node/item/element exactly once so that some process can be performed. Traversal means visiting the records.

 Creation / insertion:

Adding a new record.

Deleting /destroying:

Removing a record from the data structure which is no longer required or to delete all the records.

Selection/searching:

Finding the location of a particular record with a specific value Or finding the records which satisfy a particular condition.

Updating / modifying:

Changing the existing values.

Sorting/arranging:

Arranging the record in some logical order as per requirement either increasing or decreasing order.

Merging:

Combining the two files/list into one

Splitting:

A file/list is to be split into two lists.

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