A Beginner's Guide to Algorithm Analysis with Coding Examples - Part 0

Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash

A Beginner's Guide to Algorithm Analysis with Coding Examples - Part 0

Play this article


Algorithms are the building blocks of efficient problem-solving in computer science. This guide will delve into algorithm analysis, breaking down essential concepts with coding examples to illustrate each step. By the end, you'll have a solid understanding of algorithmic efficiency.

1. Understanding Algorithms and Programs

Algorithms are step-by-step instructions for solving problems, while programs are their concrete implementations in specific programming languages. Algorithms provide the logic that programs follow to perform tasks.

2. Characteristics of a Good Algorithm

A well-designed algorithm has distinct characteristics:

  • Input: Clearly defined inputs for the problem.

  • Output: Provides precise and expected results.

  • Definiteness: Steps are unambiguous and executable.

  • Finiteness: A limited number of steps for completion.

  • Effectiveness: Solves the problem efficiently.

3. Writing Algorithms: Principles and Examples

Algorithms are often expressed using pseudocode. Consider these two examples:

  • Finding Maximum Element:
luaCopy codefunction findMax(arr)
    max = arr[0]
    for i = 1 to length(arr)
        if arr[i] > max
            max = arr[i]
    return max
  • Calculating Factorial:
javaCopy codefunction factorial(n)
    if n = 0
        return 1
        return n * factorial(n - 1)

4. Measuring Algorithm Performance

Understanding algorithm performance involves:

  • Time Complexity: How execution time changes with input size.

  • Space Complexity: How memory usage changes with input size.

5. Time Complexity Analysis

Big O notation represents time complexity. Examples include:

  • O(1) Constant Time:
javascriptCopy codefunction firstElement(arr)
    return arr[0]
  • O(n) Linear Time:
javaCopy codefunction linearSearch(arr, target)
    for i = 0 to length(arr)
        if arr[i] = target
            return i
    return -1
  • O(n^2) Quadratic Time:
scssCopy codefunction bubbleSort(arr)
    for i = 0 to length(arr)
        for j = 0 to length(arr) - i - 1
            if arr[j] > arr[j + 1]
                swap(arr[j], arr[j + 1])

6. Space Complexity Analysis

Examples of space complexity:

  • Constant Space:
javascriptCopy codefunction constantSpace(n)
    x = 5
    return x + n
  • Linear Space:
scssCopy codefunction linearSpace(arr)
    newArr = []
    for i = 0 to length(arr)
    return newArr

7. Frequency Count Method

Analyze time complexity by counting basic operations:

javaCopy codefunction frequencyCountExample(arr)
    count = 0
    for i = 0 to length(arr)
        for j = 0 to length(arr)
            count = count + 1
    return count


Algorithm analysis is essential for efficient programming. Armed with insights into algorithm characteristics, time and space complexity, and practical pseudocode examples, you're prepared to write optimized code. Keep practicing and exploring algorithmic concepts to become a proficient problem solver.

Did you find this article valuable?

Support Ayoush Chourasia by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!