Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Design a data structure that supports insert, delete, search and get random in constant time

Perform Insert/Delete/Search/Get Random operations in O(1)

No predefined data structure that satisfies all these requirements.
Insertion supported by most of DS but Deletion and Get Random supported by few of Data structure.

To perform all operation in constant time, we have to use Hybrid of 2 or more data structures.

1. O(1) Insert
Stacks/Queues/Linked lists and hash tables support this operation, here BST, heap, Skip list, TRIE etc. are eliminated.

2. O(1) delete
Question doesn't clearly specify delete what? First element, last element or any element?

If we have to delete first element than we go for queues, if we have to delete last element we select stack, if we have to delete any element then we opt for hash.

So contenders in the list till now are - stack/Queues and Hash table.

3. O(1) search
At this step both stacks and queues are ruled out and only hash table remains in the list.

So at this step we are clear that one of the data structure should be hash table.

4. O(1) Get Random
Hash fails to fulfill this requirement, hash requires key to fetch any element and we have no way of generating random keys.

which data structure satisfies O(1) random access?

There is only one Arrays.
Just give index + starting address and boom array gives you the result in O(1).

import java.util.*;
class FastestDS {

      // A resizable array used to get Random element at runtime
      ArrayList<Integer> array;

      // A hash where keys are array elements and values are indexes in arr[]
      HashMap<Integer, Integer>  hashMap;

      // Constructor (creates arr[] and hash)
      public FastestDS() {
            array = new ArrayList<Integer>();
            hashMap = new HashMap<Integer, Integer>();

      // A Theta(1) function to add an element to FastestDS data structure
      void add(int x) {
            // If element is already present, then noting to do
            if (hashMap.get(x) != null) {

            // Else put element at the end of arr[]
            int s = array.size();

            // And put in hash also
            hashMap.put(x, s);

      // A Theta(1) function to remove an element from FastestDS data structure
      void remove(int x) {
            // Check if element is present
            Integer index = hashMap.get(x);
            if (index == null) {
            // If present, then remove element from hash

            // Swap element with last element so that remove from
            // arr[] can be done in O(1) time
            int size = array.size();
            Integer last = array.get(size-1);
            Collections.swap(array, index,  size-1);

            // Remove last element (This is O(1))

            // Update hash table for new index of last element
            hashMap.put(last, index);

      // Returns a random element from FastestDS
      int getRandom() {
            // Find a random index from 0 to size - 1
            Random rand = new Random();
            int index = rand.nextInt(array.size());

            // Return element at randomly picked index
            return array.get(index);

      // Returns index of element if element is present, otherwise null
      boolean contains(int x) {
            return hashMap.get(x)!=null?true:false;

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great analysis and code. This is a great interview question that has been asked by Google and Uber recently. I also wrote an article that analyzes the same question here:


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