**What is data structure?**

Data Structure is a branch of Computer Science that is used to organize, manage, and store data in such a way that allows efficient access and modification of data.

A data structure is a** **method of assembling the data or information so that the data can be utilized effectively and efficiently.

The collection (group) of data elements which offers a logical or well organized way of storing and managing data in the computer so that it can be used efficiently, can be described as computer science. Many types of data structures are applicable to different kinds of applications, and some are very important to particular tasks.

Some Data Structures examples are Stack, Queue, Arrays, Linked List etc.

**Data Structure ****Uses :**

For designing efficient algorithms, data structures are compulsory. It is used to provide data reusability and data abstraction. Programmers can save a good amount of time by applying appropriate data structure, while doing operations such as modification or alteration, storage, retrieval or processing of data. It is also easy to handle or manage large amounts of data.

Data Structure is a set or group of values; these values have correlation among them, and they can perform operations registered to them. Each function is distinctive and restricted for its own thing. They are main elements in designing powerful algorithms, make the code ethical, transparent and easier to understand.

**Main types of data structures :**

Data structures are mainly classified into two groups:

- Linear data structure- linear data structure consist of many data elements which are connected to each other in a sequential manner or in a proper manner. Examples of linear data structure are List, Array, Stack and Queue.
- Non-linear data structure- When data elements in a data structure, are not arranged sequentially or linearly are called non-linear data structures. Examples of non-linear data structure are Map, Graph and Tree.

**The main data structures :**

Data Structures we should know.

- Arrays- An array is a collection of elements or items that are stored sequentially. It is one of the simplest data structures. It is a linear data structure. There are many types of arrays presents such as one dimensional array, two dimensional array and multi dimensional array.
- Linked Lists- A linked list is a series of items all connected to each other and organized in a linear order. It is a linear data structure.
- Stacks- Stack works on LIFO (Last In First Out). Means the last item in Stack is extracted first and the first item is extracted in last. We can take the example of bundle of plates in which first plate goes to last and the last plate becomes in first position. So when we extract plate the last plate is extracted first and the first plate in last. It is a linear data structure.
- Heaps- A Heap is a non-linear data structure. It is a tree based data structure which is almost binary tree or complete tree. In Heap data is not stored in sequential manner.
- Queues- It a linear data structure. It’s working is depends on FIFO (First In First Out). Means the first item in queue is extracted first and the last item in last. A row or line of boys is the best example of queue. The first boy will be go first and the last boy in last.
- Graphs- Graphs are non-linear data structure. It is build by using collection of nodes and edges. Nodes are also called vertices and edges are called lines or arcs. It is a graphical or pictorial representation of elements or objects.
- Hash Tables- It is used to store abstract data in an associative manner in the form of table. It uses a hash function for easy traversal of elements.
- Trees i.e. Binary tree, Hash trees- It is a non- linear data structure because data are not arranged in a sequential manner. Elements in tree are arranged in hierarchical manner by using nodes and edges. Nodes are connected through lines or edges. A tree whose elements can have only two children called a binary tree.

**Data Structure Characteristics :**

Some key features of data structure are as follows.

- Time Consuming− Data structure operation’s execution time or running time must be as less as possible.
- Space Utilization- Data structure operations should utilize memory as small as possible.
- High Accuracy or Correctness : Data structure implementation should be done accurately. Means all operations should be performed correctly and with high accuracy.
- Integrity : If we add a new element to the list or delete an element from the list, its integrity will remain same.

**Data Structure Advantages : –**

Some main advantages of data structure are as follows.

- Data structures is used to store the data or information on hard disks.
- It provides easy processing of data.
- It offers data reusability and data abstraction features .
- Good choice of Abstract Data Type (ADT) makes the program more coherent and logical.
- Data Structures are important for creating easier and efficient algorithms.

**Data structure disadvantages :**

Some disadvantages of data structure are as follows.

- An application which use data structure needs extremely qualified professional(expert) for handling the resources and the operations corresponding to data structure.
- Large applications in data structure require more man power in creating and maintaining application.
- Less flexible : It supports less flexibility.
- Due to dynamic memory allocation property, if we do not utilize all memory space then memory space will be wasted .

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