Stack Data Structure
Stacks are one of the most fundamental and widely used data structures in computer science. They follow a simple and powerful principle known as Last-In-First-Out (LIFO). In this, we’ll explore the stack data structure, understand how it works, its operations, applications, and why it’s a crucial concept for programmers.
A stack is a linear data structure that operates on the principle of LIFO, which means that the last element added to the stack is the first one to be removed. Think of a stack as a collection of items stacked one on top of the other, like a stack of plates.
In a stack, two primary operations are performed:
- Push: Adding an element to the top of the stack.
- Pop: Removing the top element from the stack.
In the below PDF we discuss about Stack Data Structure in detail in simple language, Hope this will help in better understanding.
Basic Characteristics of a Stack :
Stacks have the following key characteristics:
- Order Preservation: Stacks maintain the order in which elements were added. The last element pushed onto the stack will always be the first one to be removed.
- Efficient Operations: Push, pop, and peek operations in a stack typically have a time complexity of O(1), making them very efficient.
- Limited Access: Stacks provide limited access to elements. You can only access the top element without removing it.
Applications of Stacks :
Stacks find applications in various domains, including:
- Function Call Management: Stacks are used to manage function calls in programming languages. When a function is called, its context is pushed onto the call stack, and when it returns, it is popped off the stack.
- Expression Evaluation: Stacks are used in evaluating arithmetic expressions, such as postfix and infix expressions. They help in maintaining the correct order of operations.
- Undo Mechanisms: Many applications implement undo functionality using stacks. Each action is pushed onto the stack, allowing users to undo them in reverse order.
- Backtracking Algorithms: Stacks are employed in backtracking algorithms like depth-first search (DFS) to explore and backtrack through paths or states.
- Memory Management: Stacks are used in memory management, particularly in managing the call stack and tracking function execution.
A stack is a linear data structure that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle, where the last element added is the first one to be removed.
The primary operations on a stack are “push” (to add an element to the top), “pop” (to remove the top element), and “peek” (to view the top element without removing it).
Push and pop operations in a stack typically have a time complexity of O(1), making them very efficient.
A stack follows the LIFO principle, while a queue follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle, where the first element added is the first one to be removed.
Stacks are used for function call management, expression evaluation, undo mechanisms, backtracking algorithms, and managing memory, among other applications.
Stacks are used in memory management to manage the call stack, track function execution, and allocate and deallocate memory for function calls.