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Data Structures in C++. Pointers & Dynamic Arrays Shinta P. Static and Dynamic Memory. Static Allocation allocated by the compiler at compile time once allocated, does not change Dynamic Allocation allocated by program at run time ‘new’ allocates desired amount from heap

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data structures in c

Data Structures in C++

Pointers &

Dynamic Arrays

Shinta P.

static and dynamic memory
Static and Dynamic Memory
  • Static Allocation
    • allocated by the compiler at compile time
    • once allocated, does not change
  • Dynamic Allocation
    • allocated by program at run time
    • ‘new’ allocates desired amount from heap
      • amount depends on class/type
    • ‘delete’ deallocates an object and returns to storage manager for reallocation
where or when
Where or When
  • Static
    • data stricture sizes are fixed
    • little chance for storage needs to grow
    • prototypes
  • Dynamic
    • amount of data changes from run to run
    • data relationships change frequently
  • a built-in primitive type; 32 bit
  • used to hold the storage address of a variable
  • to define a pointer variable
    • use the * operator in the definition

eg. int *airplane_ptr ;

(airplane_ptr is a variable that will point to an integer)

pointers cont
Pointers (cont.)
  • To assign a value to the pointer variable
    • use the address operator &

eg. int F15;

int Airplane_ptr;

Airplane_ptr = &F15;



pointers cont1
Pointers (cont.)
  • Note that F15 has not been assigned a value yet
  • to do this we must use the dereferencing operator *

ex. *Airplane_ptr = 5

(dereferencing * reads: location pointed to by var)




pointers cont2
Pointers (cont.)
  • Which is exactly equivalent to:

F15 = 5; whats the big deal??

the big deal
The Big Deal....
  • We’ve been looking at the trivial case
  • Pointers to primitives aren’t very useful
    • things get more interesting with arrays
      • we can make :
        • an array that grows as the application needs more room for data
        • an array that shrinks as the application needs less room for data
    • and much better with dynamic objects
more pointers
More Pointers

int i = 50;

int j = 75;

int *p1 ; int * p2

p1 = &i ; p2 = & j;

cout << *p1;

p1 = p2 ; *p2 =0;

cout <<*p1;

pointers to arrays
Pointers to arrays
  • The name of an array is a pointer to the 0th element of the array (the beginning of the array)

int array[5] ;

// array is equivalent to & array[0]

*array = 5; is like array[0] = 5;

int j = *(array+4) is like int j = array[1]

cout << *array; is like cout << array[0];

pointers to arrays1
Pointers to arrays
  • Pass by reference - in C++ arrays are always pass by reference (there is no pass by value for an array)
  • this is a big improvement over C
    • in C to pass an array to a function it had to be passed by passing a pointer to the beginning of the array then doing pointer arithmetic to manipulate the contentsd of the array
  • returns the address of a piece of dynamically allocated storage

ex. int *i; //create a pointer

i = new int // get a new integer

*i = 75 // assign it a value



dynamic arrays
Dynamic Arrays
  • arrays can be allocated at run time

double * p;

int count ;

cout << “how many elements? “ << “\n”;

cin >> count;

p = new double[count];

dynamic arrays1
Dynamic Arrays
  • You can effectively change the size of an array at run-time if it was originally allocated dynamically.

… from previous example

double * temp;

temp = new double[20];

/* copy the contents of the old array into the new one */

for (int I=0 ; I < 10 ; I++)

temp[I] = p[I];

/* dispose of the original array */

delete p;

p = temp; /* now the array has twice as many elements */

value semantics
Value semantics
  • The value semantics of a class determine how values are copied from one object to another.
  • In C++ the value semantics consist of two operations:
    • the assignment operator
    • the copy constructor
  • The copy constructor is a constructor that creates and initializes an object to the value of another (existing) object
    • the copy constructor has one parameter whose type is the same as the class name


Date Today;

Today.month=5 ; Today.year=2000; = 21;

Date Tomorrow(Today)

copy constructor
Copy Constructor

Date :: Date(const & Date t)


month = t.month;

day = t.month;

year = t.year;