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Applications, Advantages and Disadvantages of Circular Queue

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  • Last Updated : 14 Jun, 2022

Circular Queue is a linear data structure that follows FIFO (first in first out) principle which means the item that is inserted first in the queue will be taken out first.  It is also known as circular/ring buffer because the last position of the queue is circled back and connected with the first element thereby, forming a circular structure.

Sample Circular Queue

Operations on a Circular Queue:

The following are the operations that can be performed on a circular queue.

  • enQueue()
  • deQueue()
  • front()
  • rear()

1. enQueue():

enQueue is used to insert an item in the Queue. The new item will be inserted from the rear only if there is some space available in the queue. 

2. deQueue():

deQueue is used for deleting an item from the queue. An item will be deleted from the front of a Queue only if there is atleast one item in the queue.

3. front():

front() is used to retrieve the element at the front of the queue.

4. rear():

rear() is used to retrieve the element at the back of the queue.

For more details about the operations and their implementation please refer to the article about “Circular Queue

Applications of Circular Queue:

  • In a page replacement algorithm, a circular list of pages is maintained and when a page needs to be replaced, the page in the front of the queue will be chosen.
  • Computer systems supply a holding area for maintaining communication between two processes or two programs. This memory area is also known as a ring buffer.
  • CPU Scheduling: In the Round-Robin scheduling algorithm, a circular queue is utilized to maintain processes that are in a ready state.

Real-time Applications of Circular Queue:

  • Months in a year: Jan – Feb – March – and so on upto Dec- Jan – . . .
  • Eating: Breakfast – lunch – snacks – dinner – breakfast – . . .
  • Traffic Light is also a real-time application of circular queue.

Advantages of Circular Queue:

  • It provides a quick way to store FIFO data with a maximum size.
  • Efficient utilization of the memory.
  • Doesn’t use dynamic memory.
  • Simple implementation.
  • All operations occur in O(1) constant time.

Disadvantages of Circular Queue:

  • In a circular queue, the number of elements you can store is only as much as the queue length, you have to know the maximum size beforehand.
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