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For arrays with three or more indices, "row major order" puts in consecutive positions any two elements whose index tuples differ only by one in the last index. "Column major order" is analogous with respect to the first index.

In systems which use processor cache or vi

In systems which use processor cache or virtual memory, scanning an array is much faster if successive elements are stored in consecutive positions in memory, rather than sparsely scattered. Many algorithms that use multidimensional arrays will scan them in a predictable order. A programmer (or a sophisticated compiler) may use this information to choose between row- or column-major layout for each array. For example, when computing the product A·B of two matrices, it would be best to have A stored in row-major order, and B in column-major order.

Static arrays have a size that is fixed when they are created and consequently do not allow elements to be inserted or removed. However, by allocating a new array and copying the contents of the old array to it, it is possible to effectively implement a dynamic version of an array; see dynamic array. If this operation is done infrequently, insertions at the end of the array require only amortized constant time.

Some array data structures do not reallocate storage, but do store a count of the number of elements of the array in use, called the count or size. This effectively makes the array a dynamic array with a fixed maximum size or capacity; Pascal strings are examples of this.

dynamic array with a fixed maximum size or capacity; Pascal strings are examples of this.

More complicated (non-linear) formulas are occasionally used. For a compact two-dimensional triangular array, for instance, the addressing formula is a polynomial of degree 2.

Efficiency

Both store and <

Both store and select take (deterministic worst case) constant time. Arrays take linear (O(n)) space in the number of elements n that they hold.

In an array with element size k and on a machine with a cache line size of B bytes, iterating through an array of n elements requires the minimum of ceiling(nk/B) cache misses, because its elements occupy contiguous memory locations. This is roughly a factor of B/k better than the numbe

In an array with element size k and on a machine with a cache line size of B bytes, iterating through an array of n elements requires the minimum of ceiling(nk/B) cache misses, because its elements occupy contiguous memory locations. This is roughly a factor of B/k better than the number of cache misses needed to access n elements at random memory locations. As a consequence, sequential iteration over an array is noticeably faster in practice than iteration over many other data structures, a property called locality of reference (this does not mean however, that using a perfect hash or trivial hash within the same (local) array, will not be even faster - and achievable in constant time). Libraries provide low-level optimized facilities for copying ranges of memory (such as memcpy) which can be used to move contiguous blocks of array elements significantly faster than can be achieved through individual element access. The speedup of such optimized routines varies by array element size, architecture, and implementation.

Memory-wise, arrays are compact data structures with no per-element overhead. There may be a per-array overhead (e.g., to store index bounds) but this is language-dependent. It can also happen that elements stored in an array require less memory than the same elements stored in individual variables, because several array elements can be stored in a single word; such arrays are often called packed arrays. An extreme (but commonly used) case is the bit array, where every bit represents a single element. A single octet can thus hold up to 256 different combinations of up to 8 different conditions, in the most compact form.

Array accesses with statically predictable access patterns are a major source of data parallelism.

Dynamic arrays or growable arrays are similar to arrays but add the ability to insert and delete elements; adding and deleting at the end is particularly efficient. However, they reserve linear (Θ(n)) additional storage, whereas arrays do not reserve additional storage.

Associative arrays provide a mechanism for array-like functionality without huge storage overheads when the index values are sparse. For example, an array that contains values only at indexes 1 and 2 billion may benefit from using such a structure. Specialized associative arrays with integer keys include Patricia tries, Judy arrays, and van Emde Boas trees.

Balanced trees require O(log n) time for indexed access, but also permit inserting or deleting elements in O(log n) time,[13] whereas growable arrays require linear (Θ(n)) time to insert or delete elements at an arbitrary position.

Linked lists allow constant time removal and insertion in the middle but take linear time for indexed access. Their memory use is typically worse than arrays, but is still linear.

An Iliffe vector is an alternative to a multidimensional array structure. It uses a one-dimensional array of references to arrays of one dimension less. For two dimensions, in particular, this alternative structure would be a vector of pointers to vectors, one for each row(pointer on c or c++). Thus an element in row i and column j of an array A would be accessed by double indexing (A[i][j] in typical notation). This alternative structure allows jagged arrays, where each row may have a different size—or, in general, where the valid range of each index depends on the values of all preceding indices. It also saves one multiplication (by the column address increment) replacing it by a bit shift (to index the

Dimension

The dimension of an array is the number of indices needed to select an element. Thus, if the array is seen as a function on a set of possible index combinations, it is the dimension of the space of which its domain is a discrete subset. Thus a one-dimensional array is a list of data, a two-dimensional array is a rectangle of data,[14] a three-dimensional array a block of data, etc.

This should not be confused with the dimension of the set of all matrices with a given domain, that is, the number of elements in the array. For example, an array with 5 rows and 4 columns is two-dimensional, but such matrices form a 20-dimensional space. Similarly, a three-dimensional vector can be represented by a one-dimensional array of size three.

See also

The dimension of an array is the number of indices needed to select an element. Thus, if the array is seen as a function on a set of possible index combinations, it is the dimension of the space of which its domain is a discrete subset. Thus a one-dimensional array is a list of data, a two-dimensional array is a rectangle of data,[14] a three-dimensional arr

The dimension of an array is the number of indices needed to select an element. Thus, if the array is seen as a function on a set of possible index combinations, it is the dimension of the space of which its domain is a discrete subset. Thus a one-dimensional array is a list of data, a two-dimensional array is a rectangle of data,[14] a three-dimensional array a block of data, etc.

This should not be confused with the dimension of the set of all matrices with a given domain, that is, the number of elements in the array. For example, an array with 5 rows and 4 columns is two-dimensional, but such matrices form a 20-dimensional space. Similarly, a three-dimensional vector can be represented

This should not be confused with the dimension of the set of all matrices with a given domain, that is, the number of elements in the array. For example, an array with 5 rows and 4 columns is two-dimensional, but such matrices form a 20-dimensional space. Similarly, a three-dimensional vector can be represented by a one-dimensional array of size three.