Data Structures Heap

k largest(or smallest) elements in an array | added Min Heap method

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Question: Write an efficient program for printing k largest elements in an array. Elements in array can be in any order.

For example, if given array is [1, 23, 12, 9, 30, 2, 50] and you are asked for the largest 3 elements i.e., k = 3 then your program should print 50, 30 and 23.

Recommended: Please solve it on “PRACTICE” first, before moving on to the solution.


Method 1 (Use Bubble k times)

Thanks to Shailendra for suggesting this approach.
1) Modify Bubble Sort to run the outer loop at most k times.
2) Print the last k elements of the array obtained in step 1.

Time Complexity: O(nk)

Like Bubble sort, other sorting algorithms like Selection Sort can also be modified to get the k largest elements.

Method 2 (Use temporary array)
K largest elements from arr[0..n-1]

1) Store the first k elements in a temporary array temp[0..k-1].
2) Find the smallest element in temp[], let the smallest element be min.
3) For each element x in arr[k] to arr[n-1] If x is greater than the min then remove min from temp[] and insert x.
4) Print final k elements of temp[]

Time Complexity: O((n-k)*k). If we want the output sorted then O((n-k)*k + klogk)

Thanks to nesamani1822 for suggesting this method.

Method 3(Use Sorting)
1) Sort the elements in descending order in O(nLogn)
2) Print the first k numbers of the sorted array O(k).

Time complexity: O(nlogn)

Method 4 (Use Max Heap)
1) Build a Max Heap tree in O(n)
2) Use Extract Max k times to get k maximum elements from the Max Heap O(klogn)

Time complexity: O(n + klogn)

READ  JAVA programming - K’th Smallest Largest Element in Unsorted Array Set 2 Expected Linear Time

Method 5(Use Oder Statistics)
1) Use order statistic algorithm to find the kth largest element. Please see the topic selection in worst-case linear time O(n)
2) Use QuickSort Partition algorithm to partition around the kth largest number O(n).
3) Sort the k-1 elements (elements greater than the kth largest element) O(kLogk). This step is needed only if sorted output is required.

Time complexity: O(n) if we don’t need the sorted output, otherwise O(n+kLogk)

Thanks to Shilpi for suggesting the first two approaches.

Method 6 (Use Min Heap)
This method is mainly an optimization of method 1. Instead of using temp[] array, use Min Heap.

Thanks to geek4u for suggesting this method.

1) Build a Min Heap MH of the first k elements (arr[0] to arr[k-1]) of the given array. O(k)

2) For each element, after the kth element (arr[k] to arr[n-1]), compare it with root of MH.
……a) If the element is greater than the root then make it root and call heapify for MH
……b) Else ignore it.
// The step 2 is O((n-k)*logk)

3) Finally, MH has k largest elements and root of the MH is the kth largest element.

Time Complexity: O(k + (n-k)Logk) without sorted output. If sorted output is needed then O(k + (n-k)Logk + kLogk)

All of the above methods can also be used to find the kth largest (or smallest) element.

About the author

Venkatesan Prabu

Venkatesan Prabu

Wikitechy Founder, Author, International Speaker, and Job Consultant. My role as the CEO of Wikitechy, I help businesses build their next generation digital platforms and help with their product innovation and growth strategy. I'm a frequent speaker at tech conferences and events.

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