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A.5.1: Arrays
array meme

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should:
  • be familiar with array functionality time and space complexity
  • understand new python array slice syntax
  • understand how the basic syntax of Leetcode problems work

Introduction

Many of us will be familiar with arrays since we started using them in Coding Basics. This module will focus on Python-specific array syntax and array-specific practice problems.

Big-O of Common Python List Operations

Given:
arr = [2,1,3,4,5]

Constant O(1)

append
arr.append(9) # [2,1,3,4,5,9]
Append only adds something onto the end of a list. Python does not have to consider the rest of the list.
len
len(arr) # 5
Python stores the length of the list inside the list itself as a running counter.

Linear O(n)

clear, max, copy, index, insert, remove, reverse, slice operations.
max(arr) # 5
Each of these functions must look at every array element in the worst case.

Loglinear O(n_log_n)

sort(arr) # [1,2,3,4,5]
Python uses Timsort sorting algorithm to sort lists.

Tips

Useful Python List Syntax

Python list slice syntax: https://stackoverflow.com/a/509295​

a[start:stop] # items start through stop-1
a[start:] # items start through the rest of the array
a[:stop] # items from the beginning through stop-1
a[:] # a copy of the whole array
# There is also the step value, which can be used with any of the above:
​
a[start:stop:step] # start through not past stop, by step
# The key point to remember is that the :stop value represents the first value that is not in the selected slice. So, the difference between stop and start is the number of elements selected (if step is 1, the default).
​
# The other feature is that start or stop may be a negative number, which means it counts from the end of the array instead of the beginning. So:
​
a[-1] # last item in the array
a[-2:] # last two items in the array
a[:-2] # everything except the last two items
a[::2] # every other item in the array
​
# Similarly, step may be a negative number:
​
a[::-1] # all items in the array, reversed
a[1::-1] # the first two items, reversed
a[:-3:-1] # the last two items, reversed
a[-3::-1] # everything except the last two items, reversed

Introduction to Leetcode

Leetcode problems are encapsulated in classes. We will learn more about classes in D.6: Object-Oriented Programming, but without going into too much detail here, the following are what we need to know to solve and submit problems in Leetcode.
  • Every method inside a Python class requires self as the 1st parameter in the method definition. This is so that the method has access to other attributes and methods within the class instance via self.
class Solution:
def say_something(self):
print("yay")
  • To call Python class methods (i.e. methods inside the class), we will need to prefix the method name with self.. For example self.myMethodName(). There is no need to pass self as the 1st parameter to class methods, even though self is the 1st param in the method definition.
class Solution:
def say_something(self):
print("yay")
def buildArray(self, nums: List[int]) -> List[int]:
self.say_something()
  • Leetcode problems specify variable types in function parameters to help us understand the inputs and outputs of the function we need to implement. This optional syntax is part of Python 3, so that function parameters can specify variable types.
class Solution:
# this function parameter is a List. It is supposed to return a List
def buildArray(self, nums: List[int]) -> List[int]:
pass
  • There is no need for us to call the function we define. For example validMountainArray. Leetcode will call the function, we just need to implement it.
class Solution:
def validMountainArray(self, arr: List[int]) -> bool:

Exercises

Once you've attempted each problem, find solutions in either the Solution or Discuss tabs on that problem's page.

Pre-Class

Part 1

Part 2

More Comfortable

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Learning Objectives
Introduction
Big-O of Common Python List Operations
Tips
Useful Python List Syntax
Introduction to Leetcode
Exercises
Pre-Class
Part 1
Part 2
More Comfortable