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4.5: Tradeoffs

  • Page ID
    49280
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    In order to choose the correct data structure for the job, we need to have some idea of what we're going to *do* with the data.

    • Do we know that we'll never have more than 100 pieces of data at any one time, or do we need to occasionally handle gigabytes of data ?
    • How will we read the data out ? Always in chronological order ? Always sorted by name ? Randomly accessed by record number ?
    • Will we always add/delete data to the end or to the beginning ? Or will we be doing a lot of insertions and deletions in the middle ?

    We must strike a balance between the various requirements. If we need to frequently read data out in 3 different ways, pick a data structure that allows us to do all 3 things not-too-slowly. Don't pick some data structure that's unbearably slow for *one* way, no matter how blazingly fast it is for the other ways.

    Often the shortest, simplest programming solution for some task will use a linear (1D) array.

    If we keep our data as an ADT, that makes it easier to temporarily switch to some other underlying data structure, and objectively measure whether it's faster or slower.


    This page titled 4.5: Tradeoffs is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Wikibooks - Data Structures (Wikipedia) .

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