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Benefits of Heap over Sorted Arrays

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  • Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2022
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An array is a collection of similar data types which is stored in contiguous memory locations. Arrays are static data structures with limited size. The elements stored in the arrays are accessed by their unique indices. The array combines the data of similar types.

When the elements within the array are sorted in an order then the array is called a sorted array. There can be two sorting orders: Ascending and Descending. 



Heap is a special tree data structure that follows the heap property. Heap is constructed using the complete or almost complete binary trees. Heaps are of two types: Max Heap and Min Heap 

Max Heap: The parent node must be greater than the child node. If A is the parent of B and C then A should be greater than both B and C.


Min Heap: The parent node must be lesser than the child node. If A is the parent of B and C then A should be lesser than both B and C.


Benefits of Heap over Sorted arrays:

  • Heap takes less time complexity as compared to the sorted arrays in terms of creation. Building heap takes O(n) time complexity, whereas building Sorted Array takes O(n.log n) time. 
  • Insertion and deletion in the heaps are efficient heaps as compared to sorted arrays. When small numbers of elements are removed or added, with the requirement to print the smallest element after each change, Heap outperforms sorted arrays.
  • Multiple heaps can be formed using the same n elements while in sorted arrays, they can be arranged in either ascending or descending order. 
  • Time Complexity for Heap and Sorted Array over different operations can be seen using below table:
Data structure  Insert   Search  Find min  Delete min
Sorted array  O(n) O(log n) O(1)     O(n)
Min heap O(log n)  O(n)  O(1)    O(log n)

Related article: Differences between Heap and Sorted Arrays

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