Let’s talk about the philosophy of data structure. Each data structure has costs and benefits. Any data structure used in your program will have some benefits. For this, you have to pay price. That can be computer resources or the time. Also keep in mind that you are solving this problem for some client. If the program is not efficient, the client will not buy it.

In rare cases, a data structure may be better than another one in all situations. It means that you may think that the array is good enough for all the problems. Yet this is not necessary. In different situations, different data structures will be suitable. Sometimes you will realize that two different data structures are suitable for the problem. In such a case, you have to choose the one that is more appropriate. An important skill this course is going to lend to the students is use the data structure according to the situation. You will learn the programming in a way that it will be possible to replace the one data structure with the other one if it does not prove suitable. We will replace the data structure so that the rest of the program is not affected. You will also have to attain this skill as a good programmer.

There are three basic things associated with data structures. A data structure requires:

- space for each data item it stores
- time to perform each basic operation
- programming effort

Reinforce the concept that costs and benefits exist for every data structure. We will learn this with practice.

Learn the commonly used data structures. These form a programmer's basic data structure “toolkit”. In the previous course, you have learned how to form a loop, functions, use of arrays, classes and how to write programs for different problems. In this course, you will make use of data structures and have a feeling that there is bag full of different data structures. In case of some problem, you will get a data structure from the toolkit and use some suitable data structure.

Understand how to measure the cost of a data structure or program. These techniques also allow you to judge the merits of new data structures that you or others might develop. At times, you may have two suitable data structures for some problem. These can be tried one by one to adjudge which one is better one. How can you decide which data structure is better than other. Firstly, a programmer can do it by writing two programs using different data structure while solving the same problem. Now execute both data structures. One gives the result before the other. The data structure that gives results first is better than the other one. But sometimes, the data grows too large in the problem. Suppose we want to solve some problem having names and the data of names grows to10 lakhs (one million). Now when you run both programs, the second program runs faster. What does it mean? Is the data structure used in program one not correct? This is not true. The size of the data, being manipulated in the program can grow or shrink. You will also see that some data structures are good for small data while the others may suit to huge data. But the problem is how can we determine that the data in future will increase or decrease. We should have some way to take decision in this regard. In this course we will do some mathematical analysis and see which data structure is better one.