Spring 2018 Data Structures Prep

It is no secret that CSE 2341 – Data Structures – is a very demanding course.   The course requires a great deal of dedication and perseverance.  I have received a few requests about what to do over winter break in terms of review and prep.  This blog post has some suggestions and links to possibly useful info.

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Gearing Up for a taste of Data Science

Here are some things to do to gear up for getting a taste of Data Science in CSE 3330.

  1. Download and install R. You can download it from this link
  2. Download and install RStudio from this link. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the installers for various platforms.  Note that you will run this on your laptop directly, not through vagrant or anything like that.

Good Resources:

  • The RStudio folks also produce some very useful cheat sheets for using R and RStudio.  You can find a list of them here.
  • Data Camp’s Introduction to R (a Free Course)

More to come…

 

SMU in Weimar 2017 Info

Some important/useful information for our amazing study-abroad trip this summer:

Travel Info

Class Docs

Binary Trees and Binary Search Trees

Trees are a very important data structure, especially binary trees and its variants.  Please watch the videos linked below to get up to speed on Trees, Binary Trees, Binary Search Trees.

 

More on Linked Lists in C++

Linked lists can be tricky some times.  Here are some additional resources as you’re working through understanding them.

Youtube Videos:

Learning SQL

For those new to it, SQL can be difficult initially to wrap your head around.  One of the reasons is because it requires a different type of thinking from other languages like Java, Python, or C. You have to learn to think in sets (remember all those Venn diagrams from various places throughout school?). [Read more…]

B+ Trees

B+ Trees are very efficient search tree data structures that are related to binary search trees.  They are particularly useful in indexing situations where the entire data set cannot fit into main memory at one time.  Each node in a B+ Tree contains multiple keys and pointers (as compared to 1 key and two pointers in a binary search tree).   [Read more…]

Binary Trees

Binary trees are a very fundamental data structure in computer science.  As you continue to learn and explore in different sub-domains of CS, you’ll see them pop up quite frequently.  Here are some things you should Binary Trees and their cousins.

  • General Binary Trees
    • Pre -, In -, and Post-order traversals
    • The height (or depth) of a tree
    • Different node terminology (leaf, level, ancestor, descendant, etc.)
    • Some info to peruse
  • Binary Search Trees
    • Remember, binary search trees are binary trees that also conform to the binary search property: all values in the left subtree of a node are smaller and all values in the right subtree of a node are larger (duplicates not withstanding)
    • Some algorithms you should think about w.r.t. bin search trees:
      • inserting a new value
      • searching for a value
      • deleting a value from the tree
      • determining the height of the tree
      • determining if a binary tree is indeed a binary search tree
      • what’s the most efficient way to create a copy of a binary search tree?
      • what’s the best way to destroy (delete all nodes) a binary search tree?
    • Some info to peruse
      • David Eck link above
      • Cliff Shaffer’s Data Structures and Algorithms book linked above Section 5.4 starting on page 168.
  • AVL Tree – a Self Balancing Binary Search Tree
    • AVL Balance Property: for every node n in an AVL tree, the height of the left subtree and the height of the right subtree may differ by no more than 1.
    • Some info to peruse

Lists, Stacks, and Queues

Lists, stacks, and queues are some of the most fundamental data structures to computer science.  Below are some links to information you may find helpful as you explore these data structures:

There are plenty of videos on Youtube about these topics as well. Check them out.

C++ and Catch – Adding your Own Main Method

When you begin coding on a project, it is perfectly acceptable and even advisable to allow the Catch library to generate the main method for you.  That is what the #define CATCH_CONFIG_MAIN (very first line in the tests.cpp file)  directive tells Catch to do.

As you transition from implementing the data structures to implementing a higher-level project, you will want to eventually create your own main method.  Here is how to transition to using your own main without getting rid of tests and testing.

In QtCreator, follow these steps

  1. Add a new cpp file to your project that will contain your main driver.  If you still have the original main.cpp that was added when you created the project, that is fine to use as well; make sure it is listed in the project explorer on the left side of the code window.
  2. Comment out#define CATCH_CONFIG_MAIN at the top of the tests.cpp file.  This will tell the Catch library NOT to generate its own main method.
  3. In your main driver file, copy and paste the following code (to start with). Read the comments throughout to help you understand what is going on.
//CATCH_CONFIG_RUNNER tells the catch library that this 
//project will now explicitly call for the tests to be run. 
#define CATCH_CONFIG_RUNNER
#include "catch.hpp"

//A macro used in main to determine if you want to run
//the tests or not. If you don't want to run your tests,
//change true to false in the line below.
#define TEST true

/*
* runCatchTests will cause Catch to go ahead and
* run your tests (that are contained in the tests.cpp file.
* to do that, it needs access to the command line
* args - argc and argv. It returns an integer that
* ultimately gets passed back up to the operating system.
* See the if statement at the top of main for
* a better overview.
*/
int runCatchTests(int argc, char* const argv[])
{
    //This line of code causes the Catch library to 
    //run the tests in the project. 
    return Catch::Session().run(argc, argv);
}

int main( int argc, char* const argv[] )
{
    //If the TEST macro is defined to be true,
    //runCatchTests will be called and immediately
    //return causing the program to terminate. Change TEST
    //to false in the macro def at the top of this file
    //to skip tests and run the rest of your code.
    if (TEST)
    {
        return runCatchTests(argc, argv);
    }

    //start working on other parts of your project here.
    return 0;
}

Once you’ve added that code, rebuild your project (Build menu| Rebuild All) then execute your project.  Your tests should run as normal.