Overview of this book

Learning about data structures and algorithms gives you a better insight on how to solve common programming problems. Most of the problems faced everyday by programmers have been solved, tried, and tested. By knowing how these solutions work, you can ensure that you choose the right tool when you face these problems. This book teaches you tools that you can use to build efficient applications. It starts with an introduction to algorithms and big O notation, later explains bubble, merge, quicksort, and other popular programming patterns. You’ll also learn about data structures such as binary trees, hash tables, and graphs. The book progresses to advanced concepts, such as algorithm design paradigms and graph theory. By the end of the book, you will know how to correctly implement common algorithms and data structures within your applications.
Title Page
Packt Upsell
Contributors
Preface
Free Chapter
Algorithms and Complexities
Sorting Algorithms and Fundamental Data Structures
Hash Tables and Binary Search Trees
String Matching Algorithms
Graphs, Prime Numbers, and Complexity Classes
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Index

Getting Started with Fundamental Data Structures

Data structures are a way to organize data so that it is efficiently accessible for the problem you are trying to solve. Choosing the right data structure will depend on the type of problem you're trying to solve (dictating the manner you access your data), the amount of data you need to organize, and the medium you use to store your data (memory, disk, and so on).

We have already seen and used one example of a data structure. In the preceding sections, we have made extensive use of arrays. Arrays are the most primitive of data structures. They provide access to your data using an index and are fixed in size (also called static). This is opposed to other dynamic data structures that can grow and make more space for data whenever it's needed.

Introducing Data Structures

More formally, a data structure is an organization of data elements, a collection of functions that can be applied on the data (such as add, delete, and search) and any relations...