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Java Program to Search an Element in a Linked List
  • Last Updated : 02 Nov, 2020

Prerequisite: LinkedList in java

LinkedList is a linear data structure where the elements are not stored in contiguous memory locations. Every element is a separate object known as a node with a data part and an address part. The elements are linked using pointers or references. Linked Lists are preferred over arrays in case of deletions and insertions as they take O(1) time for the respective operations.

Advantages of Linked List:

  • Insertions and deletions take O(1) time.
  • Dynamic in nature.
  • Memory is not contiguous.

Syntax:

LinkedList<ClassName> variableName = new LinkedList<>();

Example:
LinkedList<Integer> ll = new LinkedList<>();

Task:



Search for an element in a linked list.

Approach:

When the linked list is provided to us directly, we can use a for loop to traverse through the list and find the element. In case, if we are not allowed to use pre-built libraries, we need to create our very own linked list and search for the element.

Examples:

Input: ll1 = [10, 20, 30, -12, 0, 23, -2, 12] 
       element = 23
Output: 5


Input: ll2 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
       element = 3
Output: 2

The following are the two methods with which we can search for an element in a Linked List.

Method 1: When we are allowed to use in-built libraries

  • First, a Linked list is initialized.
  • A for loop is used to traverse through the elements present in the Linked List.

Below is the implementation of the above approach:

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// Java Program to find an element in a Linked List
  
// Importing the Linked List class
import java.util.LinkedList;
  
class SearchInALinkedList {
    public static void main(String[] args)
    {
        // Initializing the Linked List
        LinkedList<Integer> ll = new LinkedList<>();
  
        // Adding elements to the Linked List
        ll.add(1);
        ll.add(2);
        ll.add(3);
        ll.add(4);
        ll.add(5);
        ll.add(6);
        ll.add(7);
  
        // Element to be searched
        int element = 4;
  
        // Initializing the answer to the index -1
        int ans = -1;
  
        // Traversing through the Linked List
        for (int i = 0; i < ll.size(); i++) {
  
            // Eztracting each element in
            // the Linked List
            int llElement = ll.get(i);
  
            // Checking if the extracted element is equal to
            // the element to be searched
            if (llElement == element) {
  
                // Assigning the index of the
                // element to answer
                ans = i;
                break;
            }
        }
        // Checking if the element is present in the Linked
        // List
        if (ans == -1) {
            System.out.println("Element not found");
        }
        else {
            System.out.println(
                "Element found in Linked List at " + ans);
        }
    }
}

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Output

Element found in Linked List at 3

Time Complexity: O(n) where n is the number of elements present in the linked list.

Method 2: When we are not allowed to use in-built libraries

  • First, create a generic node class.
  • Create a LinkedList class and initialize the head node to null.
  • Create the required add and search functions.
  • Initialize the LinkedList in the main method.
  • Use the search method to find the element.

Below is the implementation of the above approach:

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// A Generic Node class is used to create a Linked List
class Node<E> {
  
    // Data Stored in each Node of the Linked List
    E data;
  
    // Pointer to the next node in the Linked List
    Node<E> next;
  
    // Node class constructor used to initializes the data
    // in each Node
    Node(E data) { this.data = data; }
}
  
class LinkedList<E> {
  
    // Points to the head of the Linked
    // List i.e the first element
    Node<E> head = null;
    int size = 0;
  
    // Addition of elements to the tail of the Linked List
    public void add(E element)
    {
        // Checks whether the head is created else creates a
        // new one
        if (head == null) {
            head = new Node<>(element);
            size++;
            return;
        }
  
        // The Node which needs to be added at
        // the tail of the Linked List
        Node<E> add = new Node<>(element);
  
        // Storing the instance of the
        // head pointer
        Node<E> temp = head;
  
        // The while loop takes us to the tail of the Linked
        // List
        while (temp.next != null) {
            temp = temp.next;
        }
  
        // New Node is added at the tail of
        // the Linked List
        temp.next = add;
  
        // Size of the Linked List is incremented as
        // the elements are added
        size++;
    }
  
    // Searches the Linked List for the given element and
    // returns it's particular index if found else returns
    // -1
    public int search(E element)
    {
  
        if (head == null) {
            return -1;
        }
  
        int index = 0;
        Node<E> temp = head;
  
        // While loop is used to search the entire Linked
        // List starting from the tail
        while (temp != null) {
  
            // Returns the index of that particular element,
            // if found.
            if (temp.data == element) {
                return index;
            }
  
            // Gradually increases index while
            // traversing through the Linked List
            index++;
            temp = temp.next;
        }
  
        // Returns -1 if the element is not found
        return -1;
    }
}
  
public class GFG {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception
    {
  
        // Initializing the Linked List
        LinkedList<Integer> ll = new LinkedList<>();
  
        // Adding elements to the Linked List
        ll.add(1);
        ll.add(10);
        ll.add(12);
        ll.add(-1);
        ll.add(0);
        ll.add(-19);
        ll.add(34);
  
        // Element to be searched
        int element = -1;
  
        // Searching the Linked
        // List for the element
        int ans = ll.search(-1);
  
        if (ans == -1) {
            System.out.println(
                "Element not found in the Linked List");
        }
        else
            System.out.println(
                "Element found in the Linked List at "
                + ans);
    }
}

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Output

Element found in the Linked List at 3

Time Complexity: O(n) where n is the number of elements present in the linked list.

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