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University of California, San Diego

Data Structures: An Active Learning Approach

University of California, San Diego via edX


This interactive text used in this course was written with the intention of teaching Computer Science students about various data structures as well as the applications in which each data structure would be appropriate to use. It is currently beingtaught at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the University of San Diego (USD), and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

Thiscoursework utilizes the Active Learning approach to instruction, meaning it has various activities embedded throughout to help stimulate your learning and improve your understanding of the materials we will cover. You will encounter "STOP and Think" questions that will help you reflect on the material, "Exercise Breaks" that will test your knowledge and understanding of the concepts discussed, and "Code Challenges" that will allow you to actually implement some of the algorithms we will cover.

Currently, all code challenges are in C++ or Python, but the vast majority of the content is language-agnostic theory of complexity and algorithm analysis. In other words, even without C++ or Python knowledge, the key takeaways can still be obtained.


Module 1: Introduction and Review

  • 1.1 Welcome to Data Structures!
  • 1.2 Tick Tock, Tick Tock
  • 1.3 Classes of Computational Complexity
  • 1.4 The Fuss of C++
  • 1.5 Random Numbers
  • 1.6 Bit-by-Bit
  • 1.7 The Terminal-ator
  • 1.8 Git: the "Undo" Button of Software Development

Module 2: Introductory Data Structures

  • 2.1 Array Lists
  • 2.2 Linked Lists
  • 2.3 Skip Lists
  • 2.4 Circular Arrays
  • 2.5 Abstract Data Types
  • 2.6 Deques
  • 2.7 Queues
  • 2.8 Stacks
  • 2.9And the Iterators Gonna Iterate-ate-ate

Module 3: Tree Structures

  • 3.1Lost in a Forest of Trees
  • 3.2 Heaps
  • 3.3 Binary Search Trees
  • 3.4 BST Average-Case Time Complexity
  • 3.5 Randomized Search Trees
  • 3.6 AVL Trees
  • 3.7 Red-Black Trees
  • 3.8 B- Trees
  • 3.9 B+ Trees

Module 4: Introduction to Graphs

  • 4.1 Introduction to Graphs
  • 4.2 Graph Representations
  • 4.3 Algorithms on Graphs: Breadth-First Search
  • 4.4 Algorithms on Graphs: Depth-First Search
  • 4.5 Dijkstra's Algorithm
  • 4.6 Minimum Spanning Trees: Prim's and Kruskal's Algorithms
  • 4.7 Disjoint Sets

Module 5: Hashing

  • 5.1The Unquenched Need for Speed
  • 5.2 Hash Functions
  • 5.3 Introduction to Hash Tables
  • 5.4 Probability of Collisions
  • 5.5Collision Resolution: Open Addressing
  • 5.6Collision Resolution: Closed Addressing (Separate Chaining)
  • 5.7Collision Resolution: Cuckoo Hashing
  • 5.8 Hash Maps

Module 6:Implementing a Lexicon

  • 6.1 Creating a Lexicon
  • 6.2 Using Linked Lists
  • 6.3 Using Arrays
  • 6.4 Using Binary Search Trees
  • 6.5 Using Hash Tables and Hash Maps
  • 6.6 Using Multiway Tries
  • 6.7 Using Ternary Search Trees

Module 7:Coding and Information Compression

  • 7.1Return of the (Coding) Trees
  • 7.2 Entropy and Information Theory
  • 7.3 Honey, I Shrunk the File
  • 7.4 Bitwise I/O

Module 8: Conclusions

  • 8.1Summaries of Data Structures

Taught by

Niema Moshiri


5.0 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Data Structures: An Active Learning Approach

  • Anonymous
    Very nice and well structured course about data structures. Highly recommended as an introduction to abstract data structures, graphs and hashing. Many thanks!
  • Profile image for Estefania Cass.
    Estefania Cass.
    This is the perfect data structures course for beginners. It is thorough, practical, fun, colorful, and it includes amazing diagrams and illustrations to help visualize data structures, their operations, and their elements. The explanations are ext…
  • Jay Movaliya
    It is very good course on Data Structure. I Personally recommend every computer science students to go through to this course at least one time before your graduation. it will change your thinking about computers.

    This course will give detailed information about all data-structure. Thanks to authors
  • Anonymous
    Great course on data structures! The learning materials, assignments, and quizzes are well-written. The summaries at the end are also nice as a reference. I highly recommend it!
  • Anonymous
    Excellent and concise course on Data Structures. The course focuses on the theory behind the data structures, but it includes multiple coding problems throughout.

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