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3: Linked Lists

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  • In this chapter, we continue to study implementations of the List interface, this time using pointer-based data structures rather than arrays. The structures in this chapter are made up of nodes that contain the list items. Using references (pointers), the nodes are linked together into a sequence. We first study singly-linked lists, which can implement Stack and (FIFO) Queue operations in constant time per operation and then move on to doubly-linked lists, which can implement Deque operations in constant time.

    Linked lists have advantages and disadvantages when compared to array-based implementations of the List interface. The primary disadvantage is that we lose the ability to access any element using \(\mathtt{get(i)}\) or \(\mathtt{set(i,x)}\) in constant time. Instead, we have to walk through the list, one element at a time, until we reach the \(\mathtt{i}\)th element. The primary advantage is that they are more dynamic: Given a reference to any list node \(\mathtt{u}\), we can delete \(\mathtt{u}\) or insert a node adjacent to \(\mathtt{u}\) in constant time. This is true no matter where \(\mathtt{u}\) is in the list.

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