Cse 246 data structures and algorithms
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CSE 246 Data Structures and Algorithms. Spring2011 Lecture#11. Stack Application. Run time Stack procedures Postfix Calculator Interpret infix with precedence. Stack Application.

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CSE 246 Data Structures and Algorithms

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CSE 246Data Structures and Algorithms



Stack Application

  • Run time Stack procedures

  • Postfix Calculator

  • Interpret infix with precedence


Stack Application

  • Almost invariably, programs compiled from modern high level languages (even C!) make use of a stack frame for the working memory of each procedure or function invocation.

  • When any procedure or function is called, a number of words - the stack frame - is pushed onto a program stack.


Arithmetic Expression

  • Infix, Postfix and Prefix notations are three different but equivalent ways of writing expressions.


Arithmetic Expressions

Infix Expressions

An expression in which every binary operation appears between its operands


(i) a+b “+” is a binary operation and a and b are its operands

(ii) (a+b)*c

Prefix Expressions

An expression in which operator comes before its operands


(i) a+b = +ab

(ii) (a+b)*c = *+abc

(iii) a+(b*c) =+a*bc

Postfix Expressions

An expression in which operator comes after its operands


(i) a+b = ab+

(ii) (a+b)*c = ab+c*

(iii) a+(b*c) = abc*+


Arithmetic Expression validate

  • Pushing an item on to stack correspond to opening a scope, and popping an item from the stack corresponds to closing a scope.

  • When the stack is empty and scope ender encountered, so the parenthesis pattern is invalid.


Infix notation

  • Infix notation: A * ( B + C ) / D

  • Infix notation needs extra information to make the order of evaluation of the operators clear: rules built into the language about operator precedence and associativity, and brackets ( ) to allow users to override these rules.


Postfix notation

  • The order of evaluation of operators is always left-to-right, and brackets cannot be used to change this order.

  • Operators act on values immediately to the left of them.

  • RPN has the advantage of being extremely easy, and therefore fast, for a computer to analyze.



  • In the 1920's, Jan Lukasiewicz developed a formal logic system which allowed mathematical expressions to be specified without parentheses by placing the operators before (prefix notation) or after (postfix notation) the operands.

  • postfix notation for a calculator keyboard.

  • computer scientists realized that RPN or postfix notation was very efficient for computer math.

  • As a postfix expression is scanned from left to right, operands are simply placed into a last-in, first-out (LIFO) stack and operators may be immediately applied to the operands at the bottom of the stack.

  • Another advantage is consistency between machines.


Practical implications

  • Calculations proceed from left to right

  • There are no brackets or parentheses, as they are unnecessary.

  • Operands precede operator. They are removed as the operation is evaluated.

  • When an operation is made, the result becomes an operand itself (for later operators)

  • There is no hidden state. No need to wonder if you hit an operator or not.


Precedence of Operators

  • The five binary operators are: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and exponentiation.

  • The order of precedence is (highest to lowest)

  • Exponentiation

  • Multiplication/division*, /

  • Addition/subtraction+, -


  • The calculation: ((1 + 2) * 4) + 3 can be written down like this in RPN:

  • The expression is evaluated in the following way (the Stack is displayed after Operation has taken place):

  • Input Stack Operation

    1 1 Push operand

    2 1, 2 Push operand

    + 3 Addition

    4 3, 4 Push operand

    * 12 Multiplication

    3 12,3 Push operand

    + 15 Addition

1 2 + 4 * 3 +


Infix to Postfix conversion Algorithm

Opstk = the empty stack

while(not end of input) {

symb=next input char;

if (symbol is operand)

add symb in postfix string

else {

while(!empty(opstk)&& prcd(stacktop(opstk), symb)) {

topsymb=pop(opstk); add topsymb to postfix string;



while(!empty(opstk)) {


add topsymb to postfix string;



Algorithm for postfix evalution

Opndstk = the emty stack;

While (not end of input)


Symb = next input character;

If (symb is an operand)






Value = result of applying symb to opnd1 and opnd2;

Push(opndstk, value);



Return (pop(opndstk));


A Stack Interface in Java

  • The stack data structure is included as a "built-in" class in the java.util package of Java.

  • it is instructive to learn how to design and implement a stack "from scratch.“

  • Implementing an abstract data type in Java involves two steps

    • Define interface

    • Define exceptions for any error conditions that can arise.

    • Provide a concrete class that implements the methods of the interface associated with that ADT.


Stack interface

public interface Stack <E> {

public int size();

public booleanisEmpty();

public E top() throws EmptyStackException;

public void push( E element);

public E pop() throws EmptyStackException;





Implementing a Stack with a Generic Linked List

Left as homework


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