๐Ÿ‘‰ for Heap definition

๐Ÿ‘‡refresher on Binary Trees

Binary Trees

  • Trees where each node only has up to 2 children
  • "Complete" tree = every level filled; last level filled from left to right
  • "Full" tree = No node has 1 child.
  • "Perfect" = Full + Complete

Binary Search Trees

  • All left descendents <= node value < all right descendents

Did you know

  • Heaps are used to execute Javascript!
  • Async calls are inserted on to the heap and popped off based on priority
  • Read about JS Memory Leaks
  • and profiling the JS Heap
  • React 16's performance also derives from moving from a stack to a pqueue

React 16

React 15

JS Heap in Chrome

Heap Definition

  • Complete Binary Trees
  • A type of priority queue
  • Satisfies the heap property, either a Min-Heap or Max-Heap.
  • In a Max-Heap, if P is a parent node of C
    • then P >= C
    • compare vs BSTs:
    • No idea if C1 < C2
  • Top node is max/min value
  • There are non-binary heaps

๐Ÿ‘‰ for Heap methods

๐Ÿ‘‡ vs other Data Structures


  • Insert: O(lg N) avg
  • Contains: O (lg N) avg
  • Remove: O(lg N) avg
  • getMin: O(lg N)
  • in/post/preordered traversal


  • Insert: O(lg N) avg
  • Contains: O (lg N) avg
  • Remove: O(lg N) avg
  • getMin: O(1)
  • ordered traversal not possible

PQueues (Linked List)


  • Insert: O(N)
  • Contains: O(N) avg
  • Remove: O(1) avg
  • getMin: O(1)
  • basically insertion sort


  • Insert: O(lg N) avg
  • Contains: O (lg N) avg
  • Remove: O(lg N) avg
  • getMin: O(1)

What else?

I can't do the full comparisons justice

Key Methods

(and their Complexity)

  • peek: O(1)
  • remove: O(lg N)
  • insert: O(lg N)
  • Internal Methods:
    • Swap(i, j): O(1)
    • SiftDown(i): O(lg N) - used by remove
    • SiftUp(i): O(lg N) - used by insert

๐Ÿ‘‰ Practice Time!

๐Ÿ‘‡ pseudocode for methods



  • Given a valid Max-Heap, insert 79 at the end (of the array/heap)
  • Compare to 79's parent
  • Swap up if 79 > 79's parent
  • repeat until 79 < parent
  • You now have a new, valid Max-Heap with 79 in it



  • Given a valid Max-Heap, remove the max (91) and pull the last node (24) into the root
  • Now the Heap is invalid, 24 is less than 76 or 85
  • Swap down 24 with the bigger of the two children (85, then 53)
  • Repeat until you have a valid Max-Heap again, with 91 popped off.


It's tricky the first time


๐Ÿ‘‰ Why Use A Heap

Review: Why Use A Heap

  • O(1) Retrieval of Max or Min
  • O(1) Space complexity (same as Trees)
  • O(lg N) Insertion/Removal

Used in these Algorithms:

  • Heap Sort (great big O properties)
    • no O(n^2) worst case eg QuickSort
    • O(1) space compared to MergeSort O(n)
  • Continuous Median
  • (if sparse) Dijkstra's Algorithm

๐Ÿ‘‰ for End of Slides/More Resources

๐Ÿ‘‡Heap Sort and Continuous Median

Heap Sort

Given an unsorted array, produce a sorted array using heap sort


First try doing it on top of a complete Heap Sort implementation like here:


Then practice writing from scratch


  1. Subdivide into unsorted (A) and an empty (B)
  2. Put A into a Max-Heap
  3. While A is not empty, pop off the root of A and unshift it into B
  4. B is the sorted array



  1. Sorting done in-place
  2. Video

Continuous Median

Write a class that can support the following two functionalities: 1) the continuous insertion of numbers and 2) the instant (O(1) time) retrieval of the median of the numbers that have been inserted thus far.


  1. Class has a maxHeap, a minHeap, and a median
  2. insert by comparing with max of minHeap or min of maxHeap
    1. then rebalance
    2. then update median
  3. rebalance by comparing lengths
    1. e.g. minHeap > maxHeap
    2. x = minHeap.remove()
    3. maxHeap.insert(x)
  4. update median
    1. if equal length, get average
    2. if unbalanced, peek longer

Dijkstra's Algo

  • Find the shortest path between a and b.
    • It picks the unvisited vertex with the lowest distance
    • calculates the distance through it to each unvisited neighbor
    • updates the neighbor's distance if smaller.
  • Use a pQ to keep track of vertex with lowest distance
  • see wiki for pseudocode

Other Notes

More Resources

Heaps - The Data Structure and How They Are Used

By Shawn Swyx Wang

Heaps - The Data Structure and How They Are Used

Heaps - The Data Structure and How They Are Used

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