What is a Data Structure?
Most of you carry around (the same) large black backpack all day. Think about what's in there, and where it is. Your decisions on what to put in there and where to put it all were governed by a few tradeoffs. Are commonly-used things easy to reach? Is the backpack small and easy to carry? Is it easy to find everything in there? Do you really *need* all that stuff every day?
Organizing data in a computer is no different; we have to be able to make decisions on how to store data based on understanding these tradeoffs. How much space does this organization take? Is the operation I want to perform fast? Can another programmer understand what the heck is going on here?
It will be very rare that any given problem has one best answer; instead, different applications will require you to prefer a solution that makes aspect A (speed, for example) best, while other times you'll prefer a solution that makes aspect B (space, maybe) better.
LCDR Christopher Norine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
x36826, Hopper 447
MIDN 1/C Shannon Clancy (email@example.com)
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