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In programming, it is often necessary to have objects with which one can store data, retrieve data when needed, and remove data when no longer needed. Such objects are instances of what we call container classes. There are basically two schemes for organizing the objects for storage: a linear scheme and a non-linear scheme. This leads to the notion of container structures. The linear container structure is called a list. The non-linear structure can be sub-classified into many sub-types such as the various tree structures and hash tables, which we will study in subsequent modules. This module focuses on the defining the list structure and designing its implementation.

Going shopping

Before I go to the groceries store, I make a list of what I want to buy. Note how I build my shopping list: I start with a blank sheet of paper then I add one item at a time.

When I get to the store, I start buying things by going down my list. For each item I buy, I mark it off the list.

After I am done shopping, I go to the cashier and check out my items.

The cashier scans my items one item at a time. Each time, the cash register prints one line showing the item just scanned together with its price. Again, note how the cash register builds the list: it start with a blank sheet of paper and then add one item at a time. After all items have been scanned, the cashier press a key and "poof", the cash register prints a subtotal, then a tax amount for all the taxable items, then a total amount, and finally a total number of items bought.

At different store, the cash register not only prints out all of the above, but also a total amount of "savings" due to the fact that I have a "member-plus" card. Some other stores don't care to print the total number of items bought at all. Whatever the store, wherever I go, I see "lists" and "list processing" all over.

The check out cash register uses a program to enter the items and print the receipt. At the heart of the program is a container structure to hold data (data structure) and a few algorithms to manipulate the structure and the data it holds. The simplest way to organize data is to structure them in a linear fashion; that is, intuitively, if we can get hold of one data element, then there is exactly one way to get to the next element, if any. We call this linear organization of data the list structure. In order to write program to process lists, it is necessary to define what lists are and express their definitions in terms of code.

What is a list?

Analogous to the notion of a shape, a list is an abstract notion. Recall how I built my list of groceries items? I started with a blank list: an empty list! The empty set!

An empty list is a list that has no element.

It is obvious that there are non-empty lists. But what do we mean by a non-empty list? How can we articulate such an obvious notion? Consider for example the following list consisting of three elements.

  • milk
  • bread
  • butter

In the above, we organize the items in a linear fashion with milk being the first element, bread being the next element following milk and butter being the next element following bread. Is there any item that follows butter?

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of object-oriented programming. OpenStax CNX. May 10, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10213/1.37
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