Understand the meaning of Data Structures & Algorithms in detail in this post. We will study what is a data structure and why we need data structures. We will also take a detailed explanation about what is an algorithm and how it works.
What is a Data Structure ?
Data Structures is one of the most fundamental subject in Computer Science & in-depth understanding of this topic is very important especially when you are into development/programming domain where you build efficient software systems & applications.
- In computer science, a data structure is a data organization, management and storage format that enables efficient access and modification.
In Simple Words –
- Data Structure is a way in which data is stored on a computer.
Data structure is a particular way of storing and organizing information in a computer so that it can be retrieved and used most productively.
- Each Data Structure allows data to be stored in specific manner.
- Data Structure allows efficient data search and retrieval.
- Specific Data structures are decided to work for specific problems.
- It allows to manage large amount of data such as large databases and indexing services such as hash table.
YouTube video tutorial –
What is an Algorithm ?
Dictionary Definition –
A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
Formal Definition –
An algorithm is a finite set of instructions that are carried in a specific order to perform specific task.
Algorithms typically have the following characteristics –
- Inputs : 0 or more input values.
- Outputs : 1 or more than 1 output.
- Unambiguity : clear and simple instructions.
- Finiteness : Limited number of instructions.
- Effectiveness : Each instruction has an impact on the overall process.
Real world example of an Algorithm –
Algorithm(aka process) to make a lemonade –
- Cut your lemon in half.
- Squeeze all the juice out of it that you can.
- Pour your juice into a container with 1/4 cup (2 oz) sugar.
- Add a very small amount of water to your container.
- Stir your solution until sugar dissolves.
- Fill up container with water and add ice.
- Put your lemonade in the fridge for five minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Example of an Algorithm in Programming –
Write an algorithm to add two numbers entered by user. –
- Step 1: Start
- Step 2: Declare variables num1, num2 and sum.
- Step 3: Read values num1 and num2.
- Step 4: Add num1 and num2 and assign the result to sum.(sum←num1+num2 )
- Step 5: Display sum
- Step 6: Stop