Arrays are basically linear data structures that collect variables of similar data types into a single variable. They store the data in contiguous memory locations in a program. But why do we need an array in a program? In this article, we will provide you with an introduction to Array.
As mentioned already, an array is a linear data structure. It has two primary features that you need to keep in mind:
- Arrays are only capable of storing variables of similar data types. Thus, if we are creating an array for storing the names of employees in a team, you cannot store their IDs. It means that different elements of an array cannot consist of different data types.
- An array stores all of its elements/data in contiguous memory locations.
For example, instead of generating different variable names for different integers in a program, you can collect them in a single variable if they belong to the same data type. But keep in mind that this doesn’t mean every time we have different integers in a program, we have to club them into a single array. They can be present separately (which they often do), but if they are related to each other in a way that they can be grouped together, we can create an array for the same.
Importance of an Array
An array collects similar types of data together so that we can access any element from it via its index. This way, it becomes easier to access particular data instead of surfing through the entire data chunk.
In simple words, an array can be thought of as a list of data where every data has its unique place in the list/array, like 1st, 3rd, or 15th. This way, one can easily access any data/element from this list using the element’s location on the list.
We can also use arrays in the form of unordered sets. These are lists that are helpful when the order of elements is not important. Are you still confused about arrays? Check out this article on Introduction To Array.
Declaration and Storage of Arrays
It is possible to declare and store arrays in all programming languages. But while you declare an array, you must specify how many numbers of elements you want to store in that array. As a result, this array won’t be able to store more than the specified number of elements.
For instance, if we declare an array of size 20, then only 20 elements can be stored in it. Keep in mind that this is the maximum limit- you can store lesser elements as well.
Accessing of Array Elements
We can access all the elements stored in an array via their subscripts or index. Here, the first element will have index 0, the next one will have index 1, and so on. This way, the last element will have an index value that is 1 less than the size of the array. Say, if the array has a size of 10, then the last element would have index 9.
One can easily insert, access, edit, or even remove an array element by simply specifying its position via its index or subscript. This index specifies the total number of elements that are preceding it in an array. Thus, index 9 would indicate that 9 elements are preceding the concerned element (which is at the 10th position of the array).
Pros of Using an Array
- Since an array of elements gets stored in a contiguous memory location, we can identify each of its elements using an index. Thus, accessing elements becomes easy via its index, which acts as its positional value.
- Arrays increase the efficiency of performing an operation since they make the grouping and sorting of elements easy on the basis of their characteristics.
- These are easily understandable for even a newbie.
- Implementing an array in any programming language is very easy, and it does not consume much time or effort.
With that, we conclude the introduction to array. Are you also an aspirant looking for GATE notes for CSE 2022? You can collect credible offline study materials or check GATE Notes For CSE. We hope you prepare the best for your exams. Adios!