Data Structures Interview Questions Set -1

What is data structure?

A data structure is a way of organizing data that considers not only the items stored, but also their relationship to each other. Advance knowledge about the relationship between data items allows designing of efficient algorithms for the manipulation of data.

List out the areas in which data structures are applied extensively?

Compiler Design, Operating System, Database Management System, Statistical analysis package, Numerical Analysis, Graphics, Artificial Intelligence, Simulation

If you are using C language to implement the heterogeneous linked list, what pointer type will you use?

The heterogeneous linked list contains different data types in its nodes and we need a link, pointer to connect them. It is not possible to use ordinary pointers for this. So we go for void pointer. Void pointer is capable of storing pointer to any type as it is a generic pointer type.

What is the data structures used to perform recursion?

Stack. Because of its LIFO (Last In First Out) property it remembers its caller, so knows whom to return when the function has to return. Recursion makes use of system stack for storing the return addresses of the function calls. Every recursive function has its equivalent iterative (non-recursive) function. Even when such equivalent iterative procedures are written, explicit stack is to be used.

What are the methods available in storing sequential files ?

Straight merging, Natural merging, Polyphase sort, Distribution of Initial runs.

List out few of the Application of tree data-structure?

The manipulation of Arithmetic expression, Symbol Table construction, Syntax analysis.

In RDBMS, what is the efficient data structure used in the internal storage representation?

B+ tree. Because in B+ tree, all the data is stored only in leaf nodes, that makes searching easier. This corresponds to the records that shall be stored in leaf nodes.

What is a spanning Tree?

A spanning tree is a tree associated with a network. All the nodes of the graph appear on the tree once. A minimum spanning tree is a spanning tree organized so that the total edge weight between nodes is minimized.

Does the minimum spanning tree of a graph give the shortest distance between any 2 specified nodes?

Minimal spanning tree assures that the total weight of the tree is kept at its minimum. But it doesn't mean that the distance between any two nodes involved in the minimum-spanning tree is minimum.

Whether Linked List is linear or Non-linear data structure?

According to Access strategies Linked list is a linear one. According to Storage Linked List is a Non-linear one.

What is the quickest sorting method to use?

The answer depends on what you mean by quickest. For most sorting problems, it just doesn't matter how quick the sort is because it is done infrequently or other operations take significantly more time anyway. Even in cases in which sorting speed is of the essence, there is no one answer. It depends on not only the size and nature of the data, but also the likely order. No algorithm is best in all cases. There are three sorting methods in this author's toolbox that are all very fast and that are useful in different situations. Those methods are quick sort, merge sort, and radix sort.

The Quick Sort

The quick sort algorithm is of the divide and conquer type. That means it works by reducing a sorting problem into several easier sorting problems and solving each of them. A dividing value is chosen from the input data, and the data is partitioned into three sets: elements that belong before the dividing value, the value itself, and elements that come after the dividing value. The partitioning is performed by exchanging elements that are in the first set but belong in the third with elements that are in the third set but belong in the first Elements that are equal to the dividing element can be put in any of the three sets the algorithm will still work properly.

The Merge Sort

The merge sort is a divide and conquer sort as well. It works by considering the data to be sorted as a sequence of already-sorted lists (in the worst case, each list is one element long). Adjacent sorted lists are merged into larger sorted lists until there is a single sorted list containing all the elements. The merge sort is good at sorting lists and other data structures that are not in arrays, and it can be used to sort things that don't fit into memory. It also can be implemented as a stable sort.

The Radix Sort

The radix sort takes a list of integers and puts each element on a smaller list, depending on the value of its least significant byte. Then the small lists are concatenated, and the process is repeated for each more significant byte until the list is sorted. The radix sort is simpler to implement on fixed-length data such as ints.

How can I search for data in a linked list?

Unfortunately, the only way to search a linked list is with a linear search, because the only way a linked list's members can be accessed is sequentially. Sometimes it is quicker to take the data from a linked list and store it in a different data structure so that searches can be more efficient.

What is the heap?

The heap is where malloc(), calloc(), and realloc() get memory.

Getting memory from the heap is much slower than getting it from the stack. On the other hand, the heap is much more flexible than the stack. Memory can be allocated at any time and deallocated in any order. Such memory isn't deallocated automatically; you have to call free().

Recursive data structures are almost always implemented with memory from the heap. Strings often come from there too, especially strings that could be very long at runtime. If you can keep data in a local variable (and allocate it from the stack), your code will run faster than if you put the data on the heap. Sometimes you can use a better algorithm if you use the heap faster, or more robust, or more flexible. Its a tradeoff.

If memory is allocated from the heap, its available until the program ends. That's great if you remember to deallocate it when you're done. If you forget, it's a problem. A �memory leak is some allocated memory that's no longer needed but isn't deallocated. If you have a memory leak inside a loop, you can use up all the memory on the heap and not be able to get any more. (When that happens, the allocation functions return a null pointer.) In some environments, if a program doesn't deallocate everything it allocated, memory stays unavailable even after the program ends.

What is the easiest sorting method to use?

The answer is the standard library function qsort(). It's the easiest sort by far for several reasons:

It is already written.

It is already debugged.

It has been optimized as much as possible (usually).

Void qsort(void *buf, size_t num, size_t size, int (*comp)(const void *ele1, const void *ele2));

## Wednesday, April 30, 2008

### Data Structures Interview Questions Set -1

Posted by msnprabu at 3:48 AM

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