programming:heap

Data Structures

Heap

A binary tree is a type of tree data structure in which each parent node has no more than two children. A binary tree node is made up of three components:

  • Data item
  • Address of left child
  • Adress of right child
Snippet from Wikipedia: Heap (data structure)

In computer science, a heap is a specialized tree-based data structure which is essentially an almost complete tree that satisfies the heap property: in a max heap, for any given node C, if P is a parent node of C, then the key (the value) of P is greater than or equal to the key of C. In a min heap, the key of P is less than or equal to the key of C. The node at the "top" of the heap (with no parents) is called the root node.

The heap is one maximally efficient implementation of an abstract data type called a priority queue, and in fact, priority queues are often referred to as "heaps", regardless of how they may be implemented. In a heap, the highest (or lowest) priority element is always stored at the root. However, a heap is not a sorted structure; it can be regarded as being partially ordered. A heap is a useful data structure when it is necessary to repeatedly remove the object with the highest (or lowest) priority, or when insertions need to be interspersed with removals of the root node.

A common implementation of a heap is the binary heap, in which the tree is a binary tree (see figure). The heap data structure, specifically the binary heap, was introduced by J. W. J. Williams in 1964, as a data structure for the heapsort sorting algorithm. Heaps are also crucial in several efficient graph algorithms such as Dijkstra's algorithm. When a heap is a complete binary tree, it has a smallest possible height—a heap with N nodes and a branches for each node always has loga N height.

Note that, as shown in the graphic, there is no implied ordering between siblings or cousins and no implied sequence for an in-order traversal (as there would be in, e.g., a binary search tree). The heap relation mentioned above applies only between nodes and their parents, grandparents, etc. The maximum number of children each node can have depends on the type of heap.

  • programming/heap.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/08/13 19:55
  • by Henrik Yllemo