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Engineering LibreTexts

12.3: Exercise 10

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  • For this exercise you will write an implementation of the Map interface using a binary search tree.

    Here’s the beginning of an implementation, called MyTreeMap:

    public class MyTreeMap<K, V> implements Map<K, V> {
        private int size = 0;
        private Node root = null;

    The instance variables are size, which keeps track of the number of keys, and root, which is a reference to the root node in the tree. When the tree is empty, root is null and size is 0.

    Here’s the definition of Node, which is defined inside MyTreeMap:

    protected class Node {
        public K key;
        public V value;
        public Node left = null;
        public Node right = null;
        public Node(K key, V value) {
            this.key = key;
            this.value = value;

    Each node contains a key-value pair and references to two child nodes, left and right. Either or both of the child nodes can be null.
    Some of the Map methods are easy to implement, like size and clear:

    public int size() {
        return size;
    public void clear() {
        size = 0;
        root = null;

    size is clearly constant time.

    clear appears to be constant time, but consider this: when root is set to null, the garbage collector reclaims the nodes in the tree, which takes linear time. Should work done by the garbage collector count? I think so.

    In the next section, you’ll fill in some of the other methods, including the most important ones, get and put.