Software Design Using C++
An array is used to hold a sequence of data items, all of the same type.
The data items are indexed, starting with index 0. In C++, all array
indexing begins at 0. An array of 5 characters, for example, could be set up as follows:
This array would be indexed 0, 1, 2, 3, 4. We could put the character 'R',
for example, into the array location at index 0 by using the following:
We could put data at the other array locations in a similar manner. In fact,
we could input data into
CharArray, etc. The array
can be pictured as shown below (with additional characters filled in at the other array slots):
Using Loops with Arrays
When placing data into an array, printing data from an array, or processing
array data in some manner, one typically needs a loop to repeat the same
operation on each data item. The arrays.cpp
example shows the use of a
for loop to enter data into the array
for loop to print the array's contents.
Let's look at some of the details of this program. Note that it sets up
a constant called
ArrayMax for the maximum number of items that
can be placed in the array, as well as a type name,
ArrayType, for the array. Here the
typedef is used to define
ArrayType to be a type name for any
main function you see that
MyArray is declared
to be of type
ArrayType. Note, too, that the functions use
ArrayType as the type for the array parameters.
You may wonder why there is no & on the
FillArray function. Since this function is obviously
changing the array by placing data in it, we want to send the changed
array back out of the function. You would think that a reference
parameter would be needed. However, as you will learn in more detail
later, an array parameter is automatically a reference parameter of
sorts. This is because an array name is seen as a pointer to the
first data item in the array. This will become clearer when you
in more detail. For the moment just remember that you
do not use the & with array parameters.
Expanding the Example
Let's add some complications to the previous example. In particular, let's
have more flexible data entry so that we do not need to say in advance
how many data items we wish to put into the array. Also, let's find the
maximum data item in the array. The program max.cpp
is the result.
Once again the program sets up a constant for the maximum number of items
the array can hold as well as a type name for an array of this many integers.
main functions are straightforward.
LoadArray routine is vastly different. It uses the fact that after reading a data
EOF (end of file) is true if we tried to read beyond the end of the data
file. In reading from the keyboard, the user can press CTRL z to signal the end
of data. (Note that in Windows the user may have to press ENTER once or twice after the
CTRL z. Also note that Linux uses CTRL d to end data input, as CTRL z is used to suspend
the current process.) There is a
fail function which
is true when the user has pressed CTRL z instead of entering a data item (or when the input
command failed to read a data item). This could be because we are
at the end of file or because the item entered is not valid. For example,
since this program is trying to read an integer, entering a character like A
fail true. (There is also an
eof function in C++, but it doesn't always work as you would
expect or want. Use the
fail function instead.
See the discussion in the streams section of these web pages.)
Sometimes students ask why we don't use
Count <= ArrayMax in
while loop condition in the
LoadArray function. See if you can
answer that question. If need be change the program to use the above
condition and then run the program, trying to enter more data items than will fit.
Another common question is why we don't use a test like
Count >= ArrayMax in an
if test after the
while loop to tell
us whether not all of the data would fit. See if you can answer this before
reading on for the answer! Part of the answer is that
never become larger than
ArrayMax. Just read through the
while loop to see that.
ArrayMax, but that might be because there
were just as many data items entered as there were array slots. However,
that means that all is OK, there is no "too much data" error condition.
FindMax function is not difficult to understand, but is
important because the algorithm is often used. Note how it assumes
that the first data item is the maximum and then loops through the remaining
data items to see if it can find any that are bigger. One can easily
adapt this algorithm to the task of finding the minimum.
Analysis of Algorithms
The main concern here is to analyze approximately how long it takes various
computer algorithms to run. We especially compare the running times of
different algorithms for solving the same problem when the input data is
in some sense large. In such cases the difference in running time between
a fast algorithm and a slow one can be quite significant. We also sometimes
analyze the amount of main memory space needed by various algorithms.
Since memory is fairly cheap, this is usually not a big concern unless
the amount of memory needed by an algorithm is very large.
As a simple example, consider the following section of code. Suppose that
we want to estimate its running time. Suppose further that the
function does something that is simple and that takes about the same amount
of time each time it is called. Since there is not much else in this code
but repeated calls to this
a good estimate of the amount of running time can be made by adding up how
compute gets called. What do you think we get?
for (k = 0; k < n; k++)
for (j = 0; j < n; j++)
Note that the number of calls of
compute depends on the variable
n. It is very common for the running time to be a function of a
variable or variables like
n. Since the outer loop
executes its loop body n times and the inner loop as well, the
compute(k, j) is called
(Note that n^2 is being used to indicate n to the second power.) Since the
compute(k, n) is outside of the inner loop, it is simply executed
n times. The total number of calls of our
function is thus
n^2 + n. If one such function call
takes about A seconds, the total running time is about
A(n^2 + n) seconds. We write this running time function as
t(n) = A(n^2 + n). As explained below, this particular
function is an
Definition: A running time function
provided that there is a constant
c such that
t(n) <= c * f(n) for all
n beyond some number
K. (In other words,
t is eventually bounded by a
We usually read the statement that "
t(n) is big-O of
The definition can best be understood by looking at a graph:
Note that this only tells you what happens eventually; it says nothing about
f compare initially. The
notation looks at behavior for large
(where running times are very important). The following definition says
something even more exact about the growth of a running time function:
Definition: A running time function
provided that there are constants
d such that
c * f(n) <= t(n) <= d * f(n) for all
beyond some number
K. (In other words,
t is eventually
bounded above and below by multiples of
Of course, this is usually written with a Greek letter capital Theta, but we will
write it out here. We read the statement that "
t(n) is big-Theta of
We also sometimes say that "t(n) has order f(n)" or that
"t(n) has the same order of magnitude as f(n)".
In a picture we have something like the following:
Theorem: Any polynomial with leading term
c * n^k is
O(n^k). In fact, it is
We won't prove this, but will just look at examples of its use:
|f(n) = 2*n^2 + n - 3
|g(n) = 5*n^3 + n^2 - 3*n + 14
Roughly speaking, a
Theta(n^2) function grows like the
n^2 function, at least for large values of n. For example,
if you triple
n, you would expect the function
value to be about 3^2 = 9 times as much. A
function grows roughly like the
n^3 function, at least for
n. Thus, if you triple
n, you would expect
the function value to be about 3^3 = 27 times as large. You might want to
try graphing a
Theta(n^3) function versus a
Theta(n^2) one. Beyond a certain point the
n^3 one takes much more time. As
increases, the difference gets progressively worse.
Exponential functions (such as
t(n) = 2^n) are
incredibly bad for running time functions. They are known to have a worse order
of magnitude than any polynomial function. An algorithm with
exponential running time may take centuries to complete even for
only moderately large values of
The following chart gives a comparison of some common orders of magnitude for running
time functions. Note that lg(n) is used to mean log base 2 of n.
BEST || WORST
lg(n) n n*lg(n) n^2 n^3 n^4 etc... || 2^n n!
fairly good || hopeless
As a general rule, polynomial running times are fairly good, but
exponential running times are totally impractical except for very small values on n.
Searching an Array
A very common operation is to search an array for a particular item.
Check out the seqsrch.cpp example for one way
to do this. The method used is commonly called a sequential search. This
algorithm checks each item in the array, in sequential order, to see if it
matches the one that we seek. The
SequentialSearch function is
short and easy to read. Note that it returns in the function name the array
index of where it found the match or -1 if no match was found. The -1 can
be used because it is not a valid array index.
What is the running time of this sequential search? Let's use
n instead of
Count, the number of data items in the
array. Since the main task that gets repeated
in the search is the
if test that
compares an item in the array with the
Target, it makes sense to
estimate the running time by counting the number of such data items tested.
(This is sometimes called the number of probes of the array.)
In the best case, we find a match on the first probe. The first data
item in the array is the one we wanted. In the worst case the
number of probes is
n; we have to check all of the data items in
the array. In the average case the number of probes is approximately
n/2. We can summarize the results as follows:
LoadArray function uses a random number generator to get data
to place into the array. The first step is to "seed" the random number
generator to a fairly random starting point by using the
function. Here the starting point is based on the
current system time as reported by the
time function. Each time a
new random integer is desired one just calls the
The result is then scaled to be between 0 and 1000 in this program.
Note that computer-based random number generators really generate
pseudorandom numbers. The numbers appear to be random but in actuality
are not quite random. In particular, the sequence of numbers generated
form a long loop. Eventually the first number returns, with the second
number coming after it, etc. Also, if the random number generator is called
upon with the same seed it will produce exactly the same sequence of "random" numbers.
PrintArray function in this example is interesting in that it
shows one way to line up the output in columns. Here the
(mod) is used to get the remainder after division by 15. When this remainder is 14
a newline is output. This has the effect of printing 15 items per line. The
setw function is also used to get a field width of 5 for each
integer printed. Read this carefully to see if you can follow it.
to look for a target item in an array is by using a binary
search. A binary search requires that all of the data be in order, typically
in ascending order. (Ascending order means that as you follow the indices
in order 0, 1, 2,... you get the data items in order such as
125, 200, 219,...). Look at the bsearch.cpp example.
This program fills
IntArray with 100 numbers generated by
LoadArray so as to be in increasing order. The first number is
arbitrarily 1. Each succeeding number is generated by adding some random positive
number to the previous number. This guarantees that the resulting data is in
DoSearches function allows the user to repeatedly look up
an item in the array using binary search. Note how it uses the
tolower function to make sure that the character in the
Reply variable is in lower case. This makes testing for a yes
answer easier because there is no need to test for both 'y' and 'Y'.
One way to visualize what functions call what other functions is to draw a
structure chart. A structure chart for the bsearch.cpp program
is shown below. It is like an organization chart for a company. It shows
main function at the top. Under
main it shows the
functions that are called from within
BinarySearch, that is
shown with a line from
DoSearches down to a box containing
BinarySearch. This type of chart can be helpful in seeing the
overall organization of "procedural programming". (Procedural programming
consists in using functions to organize the program. Later you will study
object-oriented programming, where objects are used to group data and the functions
that operate on the data.)
BinarySearch function has as parameters the array to be searched,
indices for the section of array to search (typically 0 to Count - 1),
as well as the
Target item for which to search.
The function returns in the function name the index
Target was found or -1 if it was not found.
Binary search uses a "divide and conquer" approach. You can see that it
first finds a middle index,
High. It then checks to see
if the data item in the array at index
Target. If so, we are done; just return this
Mid. Otherwise, check to see if the data item
Mid is smaller than
If so, we only need to check the section of the array to the right
Mid; anything to the left of
only smaller and cannot possibly match. We arrange to search the right "half"
of the array by changing
Low to be
Mid + 1 and loop
around to get the midpoint of that section, etc.
Similarly, if the data item at index
is larger than
Target, we just need
to search the left half of the array. We set up to do so by changing
High to be
Mid - 1. You can see
the divide and conquer nature of the
algorithm in how each probe of the array at a midpoint narrows the search
to either the section to the right or left of the midpoint (or else finds
a match). At each such probe we approximately divide the search space
in half. For long arrays this is much faster than using a sequential
search to methodically check every data item in the array!
It can be shown that binary search has
Theta(lg(n)) worst case
and average case running time, where
n is the number of data
items in the array. Of course, the best
case running time is
we might find the desired match on the first probe of the array.
In general, based on their average case behaviors, binary search is known
Theta(lg(n)) search, whereas sequential search is known
Theta(n) search. As you can tell by graphing the functions
n, the binary search will have a lot
smaller running time for large values of
n, and so is preferred
when it is applicable. (Remember that the data in the array must be in
order for binary search to be applicable. If it is not already in order,
it could be sorted, but sorting is time-consuming. Sorting makes sense if
we can sort the data once and then do a lot of searches through it, but
if we keep adding new data items, for example, so that the array has to
be sorted over and over, it is probably faster to skip the sorting and
just use sequential search.)
The following drawings attempt to trace a binary search for a target of
23 in an array of 8 integers. The first probe of the array checks location
3 but does not find a match. Thus we narrow the search to the items to
the left of index 3. The second probe checks location 1 but does not find
a match. Thus we search the section to the right of index 1, a section
with only 1 number in it. At this point,
Mid all become 2.
The third probe finds the 23. (Note that the item checked in each probe is underlined.)
What happens if we search for an item that is not in the array? This is
called an unsuccessful search. For example, let's search the following array for 88.
Note that things proceed much like before. The first probe checks the 45,
and the second probe checks the 90. Since the target 88 is smaller than
the 90, we make
High to be
Mid - 1,
which is 2. This is so that we can
search the items to the left of index 3. However, there are no items to
the left of index 3. The empty array section to be searched is drawn
simply as a vertical line.
The code detects this condition in the
while loop test. Since
Low > High the
while loop ends, and the function
returns a -1 to indicate that the 88 could not be found.
Sorting an Array
Another common operation is to sort the data in an array. We usually
want to put the data into ascending order,
but sometimes descending (backwards) order is used. Look at
bubble.cpp for an example program using the
well-known bubblesort algorithm.
Bubblesort is based on swapping out-of-order pairs of data items, in
sequence, so as to bubble to the top of the array (if pictured vertically)
the largest data item. That largest item is somehow marked as done and
the same game of bubbling the largest (of the rest of the data items) to the
top is played all over again, etc. Thus we get the largest at the top, then
the second largest, then the third largest, etc.
Although our program sorts an array of integers, for the purpose of
tracing the workings of bubblesort let's pretend that we have modified
it to sort an array of characters. This leads to the following drawings,
where each row (or "pass") is handled by the for loop and the succession
of passes is handled by the while loop. The bracket in each drawing of
the array shows the two data items that are being compared to see if
they are out of order.
This is a "smart" version of bubblesort in that it uses a flag called
to keep track of whether or not any swaps were made on a pass. If no
swaps are made on a pass that means that all of the items must have been
in order, so that the sort can quit without doing any additional passes.
Note, too, the use of an inline
That means that the normal function call and return mechanism is not used.
Instead a copy of the function code replaces the function call. This is
faster and is appropriate for very short functions (so as to
not add greatly to the program's length by inserting the same
code everywhere where the function is called). An inline
function can only be used after this section where it is
defined; function prototypes are not used.
Let's use this program as another opportunity to draw a structure chart.
Note that all of the functions other than
Swap get called from
Let's analyze the efficiency of bubblesort, especially in regard to
its running time. This is usually estimated by counting the number
of swaps of array items or by counting the number of key comparisons.
In our simple example, the keys are the data items themselves, so that
the key comparisons referred to are the greater than tests in the following
if (IntArray[k] > IntArray[k + 1])
Done = false; // because we are making a swap
Swap(IntArray[k], IntArray[k + 1]);
In the worst case (when the data is in descending order), every comparison
will show that the data is out of order and thus result in a swap.
In the worst case, then, the number of swaps equals the number of key comparisons.
If the number of data items in the array is
n, the number of swaps
in the worst case is clearly
(n-1) + (n-2) + ... + 3 + 2 + 1 = n*(n-1)/2 = n^2/2 - n/2,
which is a
Theta(n^2) function. Note that the running time for
this sort grows much faster than the running time for either of our searches.
Overall, bubblesort is known as a
Theta(n^2) sort. Here is a summary:
By the way, what is the best case? (It's when the data is already in order.)
In such a case, bubblesort just does one pass with no swaps, so it is
done with only
n-1 comparisons. Bubblesort, then, is very fast
when the data is already in order (or probably when it is close to being in order).
As for memory space efficiency, bubblesort uses no appreciable extra memory space.
There are no temporary arrays that consume a lot of space, etc.
Another common sort routine is selection sort. Look at the
select.cpp example program. It is essentially
identically to the bubble.cpp program that we just looked at above, except
that it sorts the array by using a selection sort, not a bubblesort.
The basic idea of our
SelectionSort function is that it makes
a pass through the array to find the index of the minimum item and then swaps
that minimum item with the item at the bottom of the array. That bottom item
is then marked as done. (This is shown in the drawing below by putting a solid
line across.) Then the same game is played with the remaining items above
that solid line: find the index of the minimum and swap it with the item at
the bottom. By the time you reach the last picture in the drawing below,
the smallest item is at index 0, the second smallest at index 1, etc. The
only seemingly unchecked item is the one at the top, but it must be the
largest by default. Thus the array has been sorted.
In the drawing above, the index of the minimum is shown below each picture of the array.
A selection sort can also be based on finding the index of the maximum on
each pass. Note that our
SelectionSort function may on
occasion end up swapping an item with itself. If you want, you can add an
extra condition to check that the indices are different before attempting a swap.
Let's estimate the running time of our selection sort as a function
of the number of data items n in the array.
As usual we can count the number of swaps or the number of key comparisons.
The following chart shows the results:
||(n^2)/2 - n/2
There is no best case or worst case, it always follows the same pattern.
Overall, then, selection sort is obviously a Theta(n^2) sort just like
bubblesort. Still, because the number of swaps is less than that of bubblesort,
selection sort is probably a little bit faster than bubblesort.
The following summarizes our results:
||Not good for large n
||Very good, especially when swapping records
As with bubblesort, selection sort requires no appreciable amount of extra memory space.
An array of characters is a simple way to implement a string. The usual
method is to end the string with a
NULL character (ASCII 0) to mark the
end. The NULL character can be written as the literal '\0', should you ever need it.
A number of functions are available for working with
However, character array strings are not the safest. In particular, they make it easier to
introduce buffer overflow flaws when copying strings.
For this reason, the STL string class is usually the preferred way
to handle strings.
Look at the program strings.cpp as a simple example
of how to use the character array type of string. This program sets up
as the maximum number of characters one of our strings can hold. Note that this
NULL character, so most people would
say that the length of the string can be at most 11. Also,
StringType is set up as a type name
for any array of
const int MaxString = 12;
typedef char StringType[MaxString];
The most obvious method to try in reading a string from the keyboard is probably the following:
There are several problems with this approach. First, the loading of
Message stops when a whitespace character such as a space
is reached. That is a considerable problem if you are trying to read in a name such as
"Jane Smith". Second, the newline that results from the user pressing the ENTER key at the end
of whatever the person typed would still be sitting there in the input
stream. If a second input statement is used, that input statement would see
the input stream as having an empty string followed by a newline. To get
around this second problem our program explicitly reads the newline (and
does not store it anywhere) by using the following:
Although this fixes the second problem, the first problem remains. In
addition, there is a third problem in that data entry of 12 or more characters
results in the array being filled with characters without a
marking the end of the string. If more than 12 characters are entered,
the program will try to write characters beyond the end of the array,
possibly overwriting other data. This can lead to a run-time crash of the program.
Another way to read strings is to use the
getline function as shown below.
getline function by default reads until a newline is reached or until
it has read
MaxString - 1 characters.
Note that it is smart enough to leave room
NULL character marking the end of the string and
of course stores the
NULL in the array. Thus
getline reads in spaces without a problem. However, you do need to specify
in the second parameter the maximum number of characters your string can hold
(including the NULL). The
first parameter is the string itself. Another advantage of
getline is that
it reads in and disposes of the newline character for you; no longer do we
need to use a
get to read the newline directly.
Note that even the
getline method has some limitations.
It cannot handle any string longer than 11 characters. The extra characters may
end up being used for the next item of input or may be thrown away.
The program may breeze right past the next input statement due to the extra
characters. In any case, the results are not dependable if too many characters are entered.
The program ends by showing how to use the library functions
strcpy function copies
the string given by the second parameter into the first.
strcat function appends the string given by
the second parameter to the string given by the first parameter. Note that
strcat does not check if it runs off the end of the array.
It is up to the programmer to verify that sufficient space is available
in the string given as the first parameter. Our example program makes no
such check. The
strcpy function also does not check if it
overflows the array that it is copying to. This can open up one's software to a
buffer overflow attack, a well-known type
of dangerous security flaw. A safer way to copy (and append) strings can be
found in the STL string class.
This class also provides the
at() method for accessing individual characters
within a string object with proper bounds checking instead. (The  array subscript notation
can be used to access individual characters of a string object but does not provide
Arrays with dimension higher than two are possible, but will not be studied here.
A two-dimensional array can be thought of as a table of data. The rows and
columns are numbers (indexed) starting at 0 in both cases. A simple array
of 3 rows and 4 columns that holds characters could be declared as follows:
One of the most important things to remember about two-dimensional arrays
is that the row number always comes before the column number. This is true
above where the array is sized, and it is true below where we arbitrarily
place the letter 'G' into the location given by row 1, column 2.
A Two-Dimensional Array Example
Look at square.cpp as an example program containing
a two-dimensional array. Note that a typedef is used to set up
ArrayType as a type name for any 11 by 11 array of integers.
const int MaxSize = 11;
typedef int ArrayType[MaxSize][MaxSize];
FillSquare function contains the code to place values into
the array. Note that it essentially amounts to the following two nested
for (Row = 0; Row < Size; Row++)
for (Col = 0; Col < Size; Col++)
cout << "Enter a number: ";
cin >> Value;
Square[Row][Col] = Value;
for loops are commonly used with two-dimensional arrays.
The code in the
PrintSquare function that prints out the array
looks very similar to the above:
for (Row = 0; Row < Size; Row++)
for (Col = 0; Col < Size; Col++)
cout << Square[Row][Col];
Read through the rest of the program to see if you can understand both
what it does and how it does it. Although this program appears not to do
anything very useful, it turns out that subtracting from each item in a
row the minimum for the row is used as part of the algorithm to solve
certain problems in the field of operations research.
Using An Index Array
An index array is an array of integers that is parallel to your array of
data. It is sometimes used to speed up the sorting of the data, especially
when the individual data items are large, such as long strings or large
records. This is because it is somewhat time-consuming to swap large data
items (say in our bubblesort studied above). With an index array, the
numbers in the index array are swapped instead of the items in the data
array. Since integers are rather small, it is fast to swap them. The only
complication is that all accesses to items in the data array must be done
via the index array. For example, to print out the data after the sort is
finished, one would use something like the following:
for (k = 0; k < 5; k++)
cout << A[Index[k]];
The following drawing attempts to show the index array and data array
before the bubblesort is done, after one swap was done, and after the entire
sort has completed. Note that the data in
is never changed; all changes take place in the index array.
Of course, the code for our bubblesort also has to be modified. The
essential change is in the
if test that decides
whether or not to swap. As shown below, it must
now access the data array
A via the index array
and must also swap indices in the index array. A complete program is left
as one of those proverbial exercises for the reader.
if (A[Index[k]] > A[Index[k + 1]])
Done = false;
Swap(Index[k], Index[k + 1]);
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