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A.1.4: Queues

Learning Objectives

  1. 1.
    Queues are a first-in-first-out data structure, typically implemented with linked lists
  2. 2.
    The queue concept is useful for tracking ordered data that needs to be executed sequentially, like queues in real life

Introduction

Brief introduction to queue concepts, methods and applications
A queue is a list-like, first-in-first-out data structure that supports adding to the back ("enqueue") and removing from the front ("dequeue"). For now we will use arrays to represent queues, but more efficient queue implementations will use linked lists because removing from the front of an array is O(n) (all other elements need to shift), while removing from the front of a linked list is O(1) (more in the Linked Lists submodule).
The queue concept powers many operations in computing, including:
  1. 1.
    Message queues that replay message sends when offline devices go online
  2. 2.
    Process queues where our computer needs to decide which applications get to access our CPU at any given time
  3. 3.
    Data buffers, e.g. when our internet connection lags and our computers store video/audio segments before playback catches up

Exercises

Please use JavaScript arrays to perform queue operations. We can use the array push method to enqueue and shift to dequeue.
After attempting each problem, find solutions in the Leaderboard tab (HackerRank, may be on left side of page) or Solution or Discuss tabs (LeetCode) on that problem's page. If you get stuck for more than 15 minutes, review and understand the solutions and move on. Come back and re-attempt the problem after a few days.

Pre-Class

Please fork starter code Repl and attempt solutions there. Feel free to compare with reference solutions after attempting each problem. Have fun!
  1. 1.
    Level-Order Traversal (Repl)
    1. 1.
      Rocket solution code (JavaScript)

Part 1

  1. 1.
    Number of Students Unable to Eat Lunch (LeetCode)
  2. 2.
    Reveal Cards in Increasing Order (LeetCode)
    1. 1.
      Hint: Sort deck and replay steps in reverse order

Additional Resources

  1. 1.
    This video is a more hands-on introduction to queues than the video above. It introduces queues in Python and Python's built-in deque data structure that we can use to perform dequeues in O(1) time complexity.