Big-O Cheat Sheet

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Know Thy Complexities!
Hi there! This webpage covers the space and time Big-O complexities of common algorithms used in Computer Science. When preparing for technical interviews in the past, I found myself spending hours crawling the internet putting together the best, average, and worst case complexities for search and sorting algorithms so that I wouldn't be stumped when asked about them. Over the last few years, I've interviewed at several Silicon Valley startups, and also some bigger companies, like Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, and Google, and each time that I prepared for an interview, I thought to myself "Why oh why hasn't someone created a nice Big-O cheat sheet?". So, to save all of you fine folks a ton of time, I went ahead and created one. Enjoy!
Good Fair Poor

Searching
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Algorithm

Data Structure

Time Complexity Average Worst
O(|E| + |V|)

Complexity Worst
O(|V|)

Depth First Search (DFS)

Graph of |V| vertices and |E| edges Graph of |V| vertices and |E| edges Sorted array of n elements Array Graph with |V| vertices and |E| edges

-

Breadth First Search (BFS)

-

O(|E| + |V|)

O(|V|)

Binary search

O(log(n))

O(log(n))

O(1)

Linear (Brute Force) Shortest path by Dijkstra, using a Min-heap as priority queue Shortest path by Dijkstra, using an unsorted array as priority queue Shortest path by BellmanFord

O(n) O((|V| + |E|) log |V|)

O(n) O((|V| + |E|) log |V|)

O(1) O(|V|)

Graph with |V| vertices and |E| edges

O(|V|^2)

O(|V|^2)

O(|V|)

Graph with |V| vertices and |E| edges

O(|V||E|)

O(|V||E|)

O(|V|)

Sorting
Algorithm Data Structure Time Complexity Best Average Worst Worst Case Auxiliary Space Complexity Worst

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com .Quicksort Array O(n log(n)) O(n log(n)) O(n log(n)) O(n log(n)) O(n^2) O(n^2) O(n) Mergesort Array O(n log(n)) O(n log(n)) O(n log(n)) O(n^2) O(n) Heapsort Array O(n log(n)) O(1) Bubble Sort Insertion Sort Select Sort Bucket Sort Radix Sort Array O(n) O(1) Array O(n) O(n^2) O(n^2) O(1) Array Array O(n^2) O(n+k) O(n^2) O(n+k) O(n^2) O(n^2) O(1) O(nk) Array O(nk) O(nk) O(nk) O(n+k) Data Structures Data Structure Time Complexity Average Indexing Basic O(1) Space Complexity Worst Worst Search O(n) Search O(n) Insertion - Deletion - Indexing O(1) Insertion - Deletion O(n) open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.

Array Dynamic Array SinglyLinked List DoublyLinked List Skip List O(1) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(1) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(1) O(1) O(n) O(n) O(1) O(1) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(1) O(1) O(n) O(n) O(1) O(1) O(n) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n log(n)) Hash Table Binary Search Tree Cartresian Tree B-Tree Red-Black Tree Splay Tree AVL Tree - O(1) O(1) O(1) - O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) - O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) - O(n) O(n) O(n) O(n) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(n) O(n) - O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) - O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(n) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(n) open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.com .

com .Heaps Heaps Time Complexity Extract Max O(1) Heapify Linked List (sorted) Linked List (unsorted) Binary Heap Binomial Heap Fibonacci Heap - Find Max O(1) Increase Key O(n) Insert O(n) Delete O(1) Merge O(m+n) - O(n) O(n) O(1) O(1) O(1) O(1) O(n) O(1) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(m+n) - O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) O(log(n)) - O(1) O(log(n))* O(1)* O(1) O(log(n))* O(1) Graphs Node / Edge Management Adjacency list Storage Add Vertex Add Edge Remove Vertex O(|V| + Remove Edge O(|E|) Query O(|V|+|E|) O(1) O(1) O(|V|) open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.

For example. not tight lower. tightness unknown upper. an algorithm taking Omega(n log n) takes at least n log n time but has no upper limit. [3] Same thing.|E|) Incidence list Adjacency matrix Incidence matrix O(|V|+|E|) O(|V|^2) O(|V| ⋅ |E|) O(1) O(|V|^2) O(|V| ⋅ |E|) O(1) O(1) O(|V| ⋅ |E|) O(|E|) O(|V|^2) O(|V| ⋅ |E|) O(|E|) O(1) O(|V| ⋅ |E|) O(|E|) O(1) O(|E|) Notation for asymptotic growth letter (theta) Θ (big-oh) O (small-oh) o (big omega) Ω (small omega) ω bound upper and lower.com . open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. tight[1] upper. while Omega is the lower bound. Here the growth rate is no faster than g(n). Theta requires both Big O and Omega.SO [2] f(x)=Θ(g(n)) means f (the running time of the algorithm) grows exactly like g when n (input size) gets larger. the growth rate of f(x) is asymptotically proportional to g(n). so that's why it's referred to as a tight bound (it must be both the upper and lower bound). tightness unknown lower. not tight growth equal[2] less than or equal[3] less than greater than or equal greater than [1] Big O is the upper bound. big-oh is the most useful because represents the worstcase behavior. An algorithm taking Theta(n log n) is far preferential since it takes AT LEAST n log n (Omega n log n) and NO MORE THAN n log n (Big O n log n). In other words.

Google Docs and more! Big-O Complexity Chart This interactive chart. shows the number of operations (y axis) required to obtain a result as the number of elements (x axis) increase. Google Calendar. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.In short. while O(1) is the best complexity.com . which only requires a constant number of operations for any number of elements. if algorithm is __ then its performance is __ algorithm o(n) O(n) Θ(n) Ω(n) ω(n) performance <n ≤n =n ≥n >n Google Apps for Business www.com/apps/business Get Gmail for Business. O(n!) is the worst complexity which requires 720 operations for just 6 elements.google. created by our friends over at MeteorCharts.

com . 5.Contributors Edit these tables! 1. Eric Rowell Quentin Pleple Nick Dizazzo Michael Abed Adam Forsyth Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API open in browser PRO version pdfcrowd. 2. 4. 3.

9. 10. 8. Maybe you could include some Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API resources (links to khan academy. 11. 12. Jay Engineer Josh Davis makosblade Alejandro Ramirez Joel Friedly Robert Burke David Dorfman Eric Lefevre-Ardant Thomas Dybdahl Ahle AROUND THE WEB What the Bible Says About Money (Shocking) Moneynews Malcolm Gladwell answers questions about Competing in Today's … OPEN Forum The Best Pizza in Every State: 50 Amazing Pies Across America Zagat Want to Declutter Your Desk: Here's the Ultimate Way to Do It My Life Scoop Avoid These 10 Jobs: They Have No Future Kiplinger. 7. 14.com "Dry Drowning" Claims Life of 10-Year-Old .6.com . mooc etc) that would explain each open in browser PRO version pdfcrowd.What Parents Need to Watch For iVillage.com Decking Your Apartment for the Holidays Remodelista Sex: The Best Painkiller and Cancer Preventer Daily Health Post 148 comments Join the discussion… Best Community Michael Mitchell • 7 months ago Share This is great. 13.

. This course has just begun on coursera (dated 1 July 2013)..com ...org one . Arjan p.org/courses/algor. probably as good or maybe better # 2.com/quest.org/cours. Maybe you could include some resources (links to khan academy. #3) https://www. and looks very good. but I have not had a chance to look at it.edu/courses/ele. mooc etc) that would explain each of these concepts for people trying to learn them.. #2) http://ocw.. Sincerely.-) • Reply • Share › Gokce Toykuyu • a year ago open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.mit..s. http://ocw.com/course. 3 • Reply • Share › fireheron Arjan Nieuwenhuizen • 2 months ago Thank you Arjan.coursera.mit. #1) http://aduni.. https://www. Espaecially the coursera.This is great... • Reply • Share › Arjan Nieuwenhuizen Michael Mitchell • 5 months ago Here are the links that I know of.udacity... 119 • Reply • Share › Amanda Harlin 34 Cam Tyler 9 Michael Mitchell • 7 months ago Yes! Please & thank you • Reply • Share › Michael Mitchell • 6 months ago This explanation in 'plain English' helps: http://stackoverflow.edu/courses/ele.

1 • Reply • Share › open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.. If I understand big oh notation correctly I might say "I estimate your learning rate for learning Pandoc will be O(1). But I love the fact there are people out there this clever. • Reply • Share › Adam Heinermann 19 • 6 months ago Is there a printer-friendly version? • Reply • Share › qwertykeyboard 14 • 7 months ago It would be very helpful to have export to PDF.net/pand. and search complexities for specific data structures 23 Darren Le Redgatr • Reply • Share › • 7 months ago I came here from an idle twitter click. I have no idea what it's talking about or any of the comments. Makes me think that one day humanity will come good. It might take you a long time to get it working. and cross platform compatible. I really like the Red-Black trees .) • Reply • Share › ericdrowell Mod Gokce Toykuyu • a year ago Excellent idea.Gokce Toykuyu 29 • a year ago Could we add some tree algorithms and complexities? Thanks. I'll add a section that compares insertion. Cheers. deletion. ". 22 • Reply • Share › Jon Renner 30 1 • 7 months ago This is god's work.com . Thx • Reply • Share › Gene qwertykeyboard • a month ago You could convert the document yourself using Pandoc: http://johnmacfarlane.. but Pandoc is an amazing one stop shop for file conversion.

. 13 Guest • Reply • Share › • 7 months ago Finals are already over. Big O (Omicron) is the Worst Case Scenario. worst and average) cases. Hashes come in a million varieties. ~ is average case. It could be used for all (best. 11 1 guest 6 • Reply • Share › tempire • 7 months ago • Reply • Share › I think big O is just an upper bound... 2. Big O is worst case. average. not average case. you end up with a worst case of O(loglogN).. For trees. However with a good distribution function they are O(logN) worst case. @tempire is correct. how much does it take to delete it?". For the question of "Here's a pointer to an element. Big O cannot be used for lower. 9 • Reply • Share › Blake Jennings 8 tempire • 7 months ago i'm literally crying • Reply • Share › • 7 months ago This chart seems misleading..) shouldn't be used in the average case columns.com . the table should probably also contain heaps and the complexities for the operation "Get Minimum". This should have been shared a week ago! Would have saved me like 45 minutes of using Wikipedia. single-linked lists take O(N) since you have to search for the element that points to the element being deleted. Am I wrong? Luis 2 guest • 7 months ago • Reply • Share › You are right. Using a double hashing algorithm. Deletion/insertion in a single linked list is implementation dependent. and upper bound.Valentin Stanciu • 7 months ago 1. Double-linked lists solve this problem. 3. It is the upper bound for for the Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. O(. Oleksandr Luis • 2 months ago open in browser PRO version @Luis That is WRONG.

at most. until we find the object in the last index where we look. honestly it needs to be taken with a grain of salt and fact check with a good algorithm book. to the novice. etc. O(n) is better the O(log(n))? In what way? 1024 vs 10 increments that a sort algorithm has to perform for instance? All in all this is good information but in its current state. the third however gives you the constraint. Its will always take. For instance in a linear search algorithm.g. There is another problem I do not like is the color scheme is sometimes wrong. Your example about the dollars states specific amounts (e..) of a function that describes how an algorithm grows (in space. Omega is the lower bound. 135 dollars to get to New York. but big O and related concepts are used to bound the order (linear. vs. Big O (Omicron) is the Worst Case Scenario. this is in MHO so if I'm off base or incorrect then feel free to flame me like the fantastic four at a gay parade :) • Reply • Share › Luis Oleksandr • 2 months ago @Oleksandr You are confused. for instance you would rather have Big O then Omega because it is exactly the same as say "it will take more than five dollars to get to N. while the worst case (the object is in the last index where we look) has an upper time bound of O(n) (it takes a number of steps of order equal to the problem size. exponential. i. etc.. You can usually find that average for an algorithms efficiency by testing it in average case and worst cases together." The first bit of information from Omega is essentially useless. say. the list sorted but backwards. n. the best case still has an upper time bound of O(1) (it takes constant time to find an element in index 0. With this in mind.Y. you can thus understand how big O can be used both for. This is the most beneficially piece of information to have about an algorithm but unfortunately it is usually very hard to find. As the size of the problem grows (the array to be searched grows in size). or another fixed position). To be more appropriate. However. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. It is the upper bound for for the algorithm.e. " at most 135 dollars"). This is almost pointless to have. time. Simply this is a computational exercise to extract the empirical data.com . worst case is when the list is completed out of order. the best and the worst case. Take your linear search. • Reply • Share › Oleksandr1 Luis • a month ago You make a very poor assumption that because a specific value is given. but we have done this. Theta is the upper and lower bound together.) with problem size.upper bound. your example should be modified to say something like "it takes at most 2$ per mile" (linear).).

In fact there are an infinite amount of Big O's for any elementary functions. I agree with Luis that the table is correct and not useless but also agree with Oleksandr that it's not complete (but again disagree that it is incomplete because of the mismatch between best/average case and big-O. which has the worst can scenario when a list is fed to said algorithm in order. it will run more than five iterations (Omega). forgive me. As for the example. but backwards. Given function unknown.com . I agree about what you said about linear search algorithm. there are three different statements in this argument. (in total 9 different. The point is that Big O is the upper bound of a function. Big O cannot be used for the best case scenario. 135 being the Omicron value. you have a lower-bound for average-case. It is in fact any polynomial function of my choice given its parameters and any amount of Lagrange constants which will produce a value of 135. or any such number I specify to be used in the example. each useful for a different use case. $5 was the Omega value.has useless/meaningless information) Here are the statements in this argument: Statement i) "The table is wrong in using Big-O notation for all columns". see Statement iii and Example (a) in the end). For example. On the linear search algorithm. but --none-. that lead to the eventual misunderstanding. but for you I change situation and values. this is a complete misunderstanding of Omega vs Omicron. You should read up on this because this is very important. . correct combinations. These are orthogonal terms. and do not have any relation with each other.. This statement is open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I'm not sure why you don't understand a very clear analogy. or upper-bound for best-case. I • Reply • Share › see more Yavuz Yetim Oleksandr1 • a month ago @Oleksandr @Luis IMHO..than it must be a linear function. $135 dollars was given as an upper bound. I meant to say Linear Sort Algorithm. BUT it will never run more than 135 iterations. The main confusion is between the terms "case" and "bound".

n. To be more appropriate. see more • Reply • Share › Guest Oleksandr • 2 months ago @Oleksandr You are confused. you can thus understand how big O can be used both for. • Reply • Share › open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Thanks! • Reply • Share › • 7 months ago I think DFS and BFS. or another fixed position). With this in mind. writing O(n) for a best-case entry is correct. As the size of the problem grows (the array to be searched grows in size). say. Your example about the dollars states specific amounts (e. but big O and related concepts are used to bound the order (linear. Big-O notation is only a representation for a function. exponential. your example should be modified to say something like "it takes at most 2$ per mile" (linear). until we find the object in the last index where we look.g.com . This statement is false because the table is correct. etc.Statement i) "The table is wrong in using Big-O notation for all columns". Let's say the best-case run time for an algorithm for a given input of size n is exactly (3*n + 1). (fixed: wrong autocomplete of who I replied to) • Reply • Share › ericdrowell 1 Antoine Grondin 7 Mod tempire • 7 months ago I'll try to clarify that. while the worst case (the object is in the last index where we look) has an upper time bound of O(n) (it takes a number of steps of order equal to the problem size. One correct representation for this function is O(n).). Big-O notation does not have anything to do with the worst case.) with problem size.) of a function that describes how an algorithm grows (in space. etc. average case or the best case. the best and the worst case. " at most 135 dollars"). Therefore. would be more appropriate listed as Graph instead of Tree. the best case still has an upper time bound of O(1) (it takes constant time to find an element in index 0. time. Take your linear search. under Search.

but clearly speaks English (from his comment).ericdrowell 3 Mod Antoine Grondin • 7 months ago Fixed! Thanks • Reply • Share › Quentin Pleplé Antoine Grondin • 7 months ago Agreed • Reply • Share › Stephane Duguay • 7 months ago Hi. If he is offering to do the data entry from french. I'd like to use a french version of this page in class. there is no reason that everything should be in English. • Reply • Share › Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.com . • Reply • Share › Anyway I can get a PDF version without taking screenshots myself? • Reply • Share › Anonimancio Cobardoso 5 open in browser PRO version • 7 months ago You could include a chart with logarithmic scale. Looks nicer IMHO. the sooner French realize that the faster we can go together. Don't be ignorant... 4 • Reply • Share › Marten Czech 1 Jon Renner 5 • 5 months ago Marcus • 2 months ago IT world ticks in English. should I translate it on another website or you can support localisation and I do the data entering for french? I'm interested! 9 1 • Reply • Share › Marten Czech Stephane Duguay • 7 months ago learn English! 19 9 • Reply • Share › Marcus Marten Czech • 2 months ago Maybe he means he wants to deliver it to French students.

precise definition of O().. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. 4 • Reply • Share › ericdrowell 3 Mod IvanKuckir • 7 months ago have you never had a technical interview before? • Reply • Share › IvanKuckir ericdrowell • 7 months ago No. 5 • Reply • Share › IvanKuckir • 7 months ago Do you really find this useful? When talking about complexity. you must talk about some specific algorithm. Might include an actual..com .5 • Reply • Share › sigmaalgebra • 7 months ago You omitted an in-place. guaranteed O(n log(n)) array sort.g. without any idea how algorithm works? OMG. And I think. you already know the complexity. there is something wrong with that company. that if employer wants you to know just algorithm complexity. I am still a student. am I wrong? Does anybody just learns the paris algorithm_name : complexity. e. You omitted radix sort that can be faster than any of the algorithms you mentioned.. heap sort... but not the whole alogrithm. Might mention SAT and related problems in NP-complete where the best known algorithm for a problem of size n has O(2^n). 5 • Reply • Share › Gábor Nádai • 7 months ago Nice. But when you know the algorithm.

.836) . not everyone will remember the complexity. Also. and therefore. 2 chriswashere818 • Reply • Share › IvanKuckir • 7 months ago I don't know every algorithm out there. I don't know all of them. how is that obvious? 2 • Reply • Share › IvanKuckir chriswashere818 • 7 months ago You are probably talking about some fast matrix multiplication. One I find useful one is fitting GBs of data into 1M memory if I remember correctly. aren't you? :) I have implemented Strassen Algorithm once. Certain people will never use algorithms above tree search or sorting. There are simply too many algorithms. So yes. even though I know some of these. that's the one. • Reply • Share › Awesome You should add Are youresource! a developer? Try out the HTML toDijkstra PDF API using a Fibonacci Heap! open in browser PRO version pdfcrowd. this fact does not imply other companies have a lower expectation. because I am on the hardware side of computer science. They might not even need streaming algorithm. 2 • Reply • Share › chriswashere818 1 Ankush Gupta • 7 months ago IvanKuckir • 7 months ago Yes. Both of them are interested in basic tree/graph and sorting algorithms and give you one or two puzzles that don't really help in real life. Also. including some of these.1 • Reply • Share › Yeukhon Wong IvanKuckir • 7 months ago That's too strong.. complexity is not always apparent. I've worked with algorithms that are O(n^2. it has complexity around n^2.. Half of the Google interview questions are good. Most of the top companies I know of don't even go with Red-Black tree.com .8. just because certain companies are asking algorithms. I found it useful. but the other half are puzzles that I find (and certainly a lot of people) less helpful .. Anyway.

Awesome resource! You should add Dijkstra using a Fibonacci Heap! 3 AmitK 3 maxw3st 3 Nikola 2 • Reply • Share › • 7 months ago Its pretty handy! • Reply • Share › • a year ago This gives me some excellent homework to do of a variety I'm not getting in classes.com . Thank you! • Reply • Share › Mohamed Shimran • 6 months ago This is damn great :) Ultimate programming tutorials 2 ct01 2 • Reply • Share › • 7 months ago Why is space complexity O(|V|) "good" in some cases and "fair" in others? • Reply • Share › soulmachine • 7 months ago awesome! 2 Nir Alfasi 2 • Reply • Share › • 7 months ago Complexity forBFS/DFS is O(|V| + |E|). Good job! • Reply • Share › open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Thank you. since we're traversing each node/edge only once. • Reply • Share › • 4 months ago Extremely useful and on an easy to remember URL.

com/apps/business Get Gmail for Business.com . Google Docs and more! Page styling via Bootstrap Comments via Disqus Algorithm detail via Wikipedia Big-O complexity chart via MeteorCharts Table source hosted on Github Mashup via @ericdrowell open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Google Calendar.google.Load more comments Subscribe Add Disqus to your site Google Apps for Business www.

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