What This Book Is About?
This book is about data structures and algorithms as used in computer programming.
Data structures are ways in which data is arranged in your computer’s memory
(or stored on disk). Algorithms are the procedures a software program uses to
manipulate the data in these structures.
2 Data Structures & Algorithms in Java, Second Edition
Almost every computer program, even a simple one, uses data structures and algorithms.
For example, consider a program that prints address labels. The program
might use an array containing the addresses to be printed and a simple for loop to
step through the array, printing each address.
The array in this example is a data structure, and the for loop, used for sequential
access to the array, executes a simple algorithm. For uncomplicated programs with
small amounts of data, such a simple approach might be all you need. However, for
programs that handle even moderately large amounts of data, or which solve problems
that are slightly out of the ordinary, more sophisticated techniques are necessary.
Simply knowing the syntax of a computer language such as Java or C++ isn’t
This book is about what you need to know after you’ve learned a programming
language. The material we cover here is typically taught in colleges and universities
as a second-year course in computer science, after a student has mastered the
fundamentals of programming.