Brushing up your array knowledge is of utmost importance especially if you are a programmer!
So today, we are going to discuss arrays, its related concepts like array rotation, and its key benefits to the programmer.
An array is a data structure to store a specific data type. However, you need to know that an array has a definite size. This means that you will have to assign a certain memory to an array, depending upon the data type.
For better understanding, consider an array as a collection of elements of a similar type. So, if you are storing an integer in an array, you can only store an integer in that array. You can not store character, float, or any other data type in an integer array.
Other than this, arrays are single-dimensional and multidimensional that you can use according to your requirement. There are different advantages associated with an array including reducing the code and reducing memory usage.
Read on to know about these advantages in detail:
Arrays Are Cache Friendly
Values are stored close to each other in an array. So, the CPU can easily access it from the cache memory only. Because of this, iteration in an array becomes faster and saves you from extra computational steps that you have to carry out to access elements from the main memory. It will parse the array. Moreover, an array of references can take advantage of this fact.
Arrays Are Memory Friendly
In an array, memory is allocated dynamically. This helps to save the memory in your system and also, does not block memory statistically. This feature of arrays also helps when the pre-defined allocated memory to an array is insufficient.
In that case, you can also allocate the memory at the run-time. Moreover, when the allocation is static, the data is stored in a defined container and is completely dependent on the data type that you are using.
Arrays Are Easier To Debug
Compared to other data structures, other data structures take more time to verify if the element is indexed or not. However, in arrays, the indexes are specified and can be used optimally. For example: finding the kth largest element in an array takes less time than any other data structure like a linked list.
Arrays Minimize The Variable Usage
While writing a normal program, you will have to assign a different variable for each data type. However, that is not the case with arrays. The array itself is a collection of sets of values of the same data type. A single variable can be assigned to an array and pointers can be used to get access to an element. This makes it much easier and faster for you to carry out operations like array rotation.
Arrays Have Flexible Length
Another advantage of an array is that it has flexible length. Besides that, zero-length arrays are another important method to use to implement arrays of variable length. By deciding on constant memory to the data structure, you may only end up wasting memory if it is not used. So, when you assign zero-length arrays no memory is assigned or used. In that case, such arrays are considered pointers.
Arrays Are Multi-Dimensional
Arrays can also be multi-dimensional. Besides carrying the operations like array rotation, they can be represented in the form of 2D or 3D. If you want to know how many elements you can store in a Multidimensional array, you can calculate the same by multiplying the size of all the dimensions.
Arrays Increase Code Reusability
Code reusability is one of the most important things that you need to achieve as a programmer. With arrays, you can define the array once in your code and then you can use it with a single variable. In simple terms, you can use multiple elements with a single variable. This makes your code optimized and neat.
Arrays Can Be Easily Accessed
There are two types of data structures namely; Structured and Unstructured. An array is the structured one. This implies that the elements in an array are stored in a particular sequence. So, it becomes easier to access any element on the array, unlike many other unstructured data. Hence, if you are finding the kth largest element in an array, it will be computed faster than any other data structure.
Arrays Have A Predictable Access Timing
Like hash tables, arrays also have predictable access timing. This access timing is already predefined. However, when it comes to hash tables, the process is much more complex and involves multiple operations. This is not the case with arrays, the address of an element is predefined which makes it easy to access the element and makes the computation process faster.
Arrays Use Compact Memory Space
As we have mentioned, the array is a collection of elements of the same data type. Therefore, when assigning memory, only the start address, length of the array, and pointers are assigned memory. However, when it comes to other data structures like a linked list, memory is designated to each element. This takes up a lot of space in your system.
Understanding the concept of arrays is one of the crucial things that you have to do to get a grasp on any language. Arrays are widely used because of many reasons including less storage space, predefined access time, and code reusability.
Arrays are more efficient than other data structures like linked lists or hash tables as they are more structured. This eliminates the need for extra computational steps the system may have to go through like in programs to find a kth largest element of an array or simply print a particular element from the array.
Other than this, arrays may have some disadvantages as you can only store one type of data. But that does not decrease the efficiency and increase in computational speed that arrays offer.