Skip to content
Related Articles

Related Articles

Improve Article
Save Article
Like Article

Point to next higher value node in a linked list with an arbitrary pointer

  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 22 Oct, 2021

Given singly linked list with every node having an additional “arbitrary” pointer that currently points to NULL. Need to make the “arbitrary” pointer point to the next higher value node.
 

listwithArbit

Attention reader! Don’t stop learning now. Get hold of all the important DSA concepts with the DSA Self Paced Course at a student-friendly price and become industry ready.  To complete your preparation from learning a language to DS Algo and many more,  please refer Complete Interview Preparation Course.

In case you wish to attend live classes with experts, please refer DSA Live Classes for Working Professionals and Competitive Programming Live for Students.

We strongly recommend to minimize your browser and try this yourself first



A Simple Solution is to traverse all nodes one by one, for every node, find the node which has the next greater value of the current node and change the next pointer. Time Complexity of this solution is O(n2).

An Efficient Solution works in O(nLogn) time. The idea is to use Merge Sort for linked list
1) Traverse input list and copy next pointer to arbit pointer for every node. 
2) Do Merge Sort for the linked list formed by arbit pointers.

Below is the implementation of the above idea. All of the merger sort functions are taken from here. The taken functions are modified here so that they work on arbit pointers instead of next pointers.  

C++




// C++ program to populate arbit pointers
// to next higher value using merge sort
#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;
 
/* Link list node */
class Node
{
    public:
    int data;
    Node* next, *arbit;
};
 
/* function prototypes */
Node* SortedMerge(Node* a, Node* b);
void FrontBackSplit(Node* source,
                    Node** frontRef, Node** backRef);
 
/* sorts the linked list formed by arbit pointers
(does not change next pointer or data) */
void MergeSort(Node** headRef)
{
    Node* head = *headRef;
    Node* a, *b;
 
    /* Base case -- length 0 or 1 */
    if ((head == NULL) || (head->arbit == NULL))
        return;
 
    /* Split head into 'a' and 'b' sublists */
    FrontBackSplit(head, &a, &b);
 
    /* Recursively sort the sublists */
    MergeSort(&a);
    MergeSort(&b);
 
    /* answer = merge the two sorted lists together */
    *headRef = SortedMerge(a, b);
}
 
details of this function */
Node* SortedMerge(Node* a, Node* b)
{
    Node* result = NULL;
 
    /* Base cases */
    if (a == NULL)
        return (b);
    else if (b == NULL)
        return (a);
 
    /* Pick either a or b, and recur */
    if (a->data <= b->data)
    {
        result = a;
        result->arbit = SortedMerge(a->arbit, b);
    }
    else
    {
        result = b;
        result->arbit = SortedMerge(a, b->arbit);
    }
 
    return (result);
}
 
/* Split the nodes of the given list into front
and back halves, and return the two lists using
the reference parameters. If the length is odd,
the extra node should go in the front list.
Uses the fast/slow pointer strategy. */
void FrontBackSplit(Node* source,
                    Node** frontRef, Node** backRef)
{
    Node* fast, *slow;
 
    if (source == NULL || source->arbit == NULL)
    {
        /* length < 2 cases */
        *frontRef = source;
        *backRef = NULL;
        return;
    }
 
    slow = source, fast = source->arbit;
 
    /* Advance 'fast' two nodes, and
    advance 'slow' one node */
    while (fast != NULL)
    {
        fast = fast->arbit;
        if (fast != NULL)
        {
            slow = slow->arbit;
            fast = fast->arbit;
        }
    }
 
    /* 'slow' is before the midpoint in the list,
     so split it in two at that point. */
    *frontRef = source;
    *backRef = slow->arbit;
    slow->arbit = NULL;
}
 
/* Function to insert a node at the
beginning of the linked list */
void push(Node** head_ref, int new_data)
{
    /* allocate node */
    Node* new_node = new Node();
 
    /* put in the data */
    new_node->data = new_data;
 
    /* link the old list off the new node */
    new_node->next = (*head_ref);
 
    new_node->arbit = NULL;
 
    /* move the head to point to the new node */
    (*head_ref) = new_node;
}
 
// Utility function to print result linked list
void printListafter(Node *node, Node *anode)
{
    cout<<"Traversal using Next Pointer\n";
    while (node!=NULL)
    {
        cout << node->data << ", ";
        node = node->next;
    }
 
    printf("\nTraversal using Arbit Pointer\n");
    while (anode!=NULL)
    {
        cout << anode->data << ", ";
        anode = anode->arbit;
    }
}
 
// This function populates arbit pointer in every node to the
// next higher value. And returns pointer to the node with
// minimum value
Node* populateArbit(Node *head)
{
    // Copy next pointers to arbit pointers
    Node *temp = head;
    while (temp != NULL)
    {
        temp->arbit = temp->next;
        temp = temp->next;
    }
 
    // Do merge sort for arbitrary pointers
    MergeSort(&head);
 
    // Return head of arbitrary pointer linked list
    return head;
}
 
/* Driver program to test above functions*/
int main()
{
    /* Start with the empty list */
    Node* head = NULL;
 
    /* Let us create the list shown above */
    push(&head, 3);
    push(&head, 2);
    push(&head, 10);
    push(&head, 5);
 
    /* Sort the above created Linked List */
    Node *ahead = populateArbit(head);
 
    cout << "Result Linked List is: \n";
    printListafter(head, ahead);
    return 0;
}
 
// This is code is contributed by rathbhupendra

C




// C program to populate arbit pointers to next higher value
// using merge sort
#include<stdio.h>
#include<stdlib.h>
 
/* Link list node */
struct Node
{
    int data;
    struct Node* next, *arbit;
};
 
/* function prototypes */
struct Node* SortedMerge(struct Node* a, struct Node* b);
void FrontBackSplit(struct Node* source,
                    struct Node** frontRef, struct Node** backRef);
 
/* sorts the linked list formed by arbit pointers
  (does not change next pointer or data) */
void MergeSort(struct Node** headRef)
{
    struct Node* head = *headRef;
    struct Node* a, *b;
 
    /* Base case -- length 0 or 1 */
    if ((head == NULL) || (head->arbit == NULL))
        return;
 
    /* Split head into 'a' and 'b' sublists */
    FrontBackSplit(head, &a, &b);
 
    /* Recursively sort the sublists */
    MergeSort(&a);
    MergeSort(&b);
 
    /* answer = merge the two sorted lists together */
    *headRef = SortedMerge(a, b);
}
 
/* See https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/?p=3622 for details of this
   function */
struct Node* SortedMerge(struct Node* a, struct Node* b)
{
    struct Node* result = NULL;
 
    /* Base cases */
    if (a == NULL)
        return (b);
    else if (b==NULL)
        return (a);
 
    /* Pick either a or b, and recur */
    if (a->data <= b->data)
    {
        result = a;
        result->arbit = SortedMerge(a->arbit, b);
    }
    else
    {
        result = b;
        result->arbit = SortedMerge(a, b->arbit);
    }
 
    return (result);
}
 
/* Split the nodes of the given list into front and back halves,
   and return the two lists using the reference parameters.
   If the length is odd, the extra node should go in the front list.
   Uses the fast/slow pointer strategy.  */
void FrontBackSplit(struct Node* source,
                    struct Node** frontRef, struct Node** backRef)
{
    struct Node* fast, *slow;
 
    if (source==NULL || source->arbit==NULL)
    {
        /* length < 2 cases */
        *frontRef = source;
        *backRef = NULL;
        return;
    }
 
    slow = source,  fast = source->arbit;
 
    /* Advance 'fast' two nodes, and advance 'slow' one node */
    while (fast != NULL)
    {
        fast = fast->arbit;
        if (fast != NULL)
        {
            slow = slow->arbit;
            fast = fast->arbit;
        }
    }
 
    /* 'slow' is before the midpoint in the list, so split it in two
      at that point. */
    *frontRef = source;
    *backRef = slow->arbit;
    slow->arbit = NULL;
}
 
/* Function to insert a node at the beginging of the linked list */
void push(struct Node** head_ref, int new_data)
{
    /* allocate node */
    struct Node* new_node =
        (struct Node*) malloc(sizeof(struct Node));
 
    /* put in the data  */
    new_node->data  = new_data;
 
    /* link the old list off the new node */
    new_node->next = (*head_ref);
 
    new_node->arbit = NULL;
 
    /* move the head to point to the new node */
    (*head_ref)    = new_node;
}
 
// Utility function to print result linked list
void printListafter(struct Node *node, struct Node *anode)
{
    printf("Traversal using Next Pointer\n");
    while (node!=NULL)
    {
        printf("%d, ", node->data);
        node = node->next;
    }
 
    printf("\nTraversal using Arbit Pointer\n");
    while (anode!=NULL)
    {
        printf("%d, ", anode->data);
        anode = anode->arbit;
    }
}
 
// This function populates arbit pointer in every node to the
// next higher value. And returns pointer to the node with
// minimum value
struct Node* populateArbit(struct Node *head)
{
    // Copy next pointers to arbit pointers
    struct Node *temp = head;
    while (temp != NULL)
    {
        temp->arbit = temp->next;
        temp = temp->next;
    }
 
    // Do merge sort for arbitrary pointers
    MergeSort(&head);
 
    // Return head of arbitrary pointer linked list
    return head;
}
 
/* Driver program to test above functions*/
int main()
{
    /* Start with the empty list */
    struct Node* head = NULL;
 
    /* Let us create the list shown above */
    push(&head, 3);
    push(&head, 2);
    push(&head, 10);
    push(&head, 5);
 
    /* Sort the above created Linked List */
    struct Node *ahead = populateArbit(head);
 
    printf("\nResult Linked List is: \n");
    printListafter(head, ahead);
 
    getchar();
    return 0;
}

Java




// Java program to populate arbit pointers
// to next higher value using merge sort
class LinkedList
{
 
    static Node head;
 
    /* Link list node */
    static class Node
    {
        int data;
        Node next, arbit;
 
        Node(int data)
        {
            this.data = data;
            next = null;
            arbit = null;
        }
    }
 
    // Utility function to print result linked list
    void printList(Node node, Node anode)
    {
        System.out.println("Traversal using Next Pointer");
        while (node != null)
        {
            System.out.print(node.data + " ");
            node = node.next;
        }
 
        System.out.println("\nTraversal using Arbit Pointer");
        while (anode != null)
        {
            System.out.print(anode.data + " ");
            anode = anode.arbit;
        }
    }
 
    // This function populates arbit pointer in every node to the
    // next higher value. And returns pointer to the node with
    // minimum value
    private Node populateArbit(Node start)
    {
 
        Node temp = start;
 
        // Copy next pointers to arbit pointers
        while (temp != null)
        {
            temp.arbit = temp.next;
            temp = temp.next;
        }
 
        // Do merge sort for arbitrary pointers and
        // return head of arbitrary pointer linked list
        return MergeSort(start);
    }
 
    /* sorts the linked list formed by arbit pointers
    (does not change next pointer or data) */
    private Node MergeSort(Node start)
    {
         
        /* Base case -- length 0 or 1 */
        if (start == null || start.arbit == null)
        {
            return start;
        }
 
        /* Split head into 'middle' and 'nextofmiddle' sublists */
        Node middle = getMiddle(start);
        Node nextofmiddle = middle.arbit;
 
        middle.arbit = null;
 
        /* Recursively sort the sublists */
        Node left = MergeSort(start);
        Node right = MergeSort(nextofmiddle);
 
        /* answer = merge the two sorted lists together */
        Node sortedlist = SortedMerge(left, right);
 
        return sortedlist;
    }
 
    // Utility function to get the middle of the linked list
    private Node getMiddle(Node source)
    {
        // Base case
        if (source == null)
            return source;
        Node fastptr = source.arbit;
        Node slowptr = source;
 
        // Move fastptr by two and slow ptr by one
        // Finally slowptr will point to middle node
        while (fastptr != null)
        {
            fastptr = fastptr.arbit;
            if (fastptr != null)
            {
                slowptr = slowptr.arbit;
                fastptr = fastptr.arbit;
            }
        }
        return slowptr;
    }
 
    private Node SortedMerge(Node a, Node b)
    {
        Node result = null;
 
        /* Base cases */
        if (a == null)
            return b;
        else if (b == null)
            return a;
 
        /* Pick either a or b, and recur */
        if (a.data <= b.data)
        {
            result = a;
            result.arbit = SortedMerge(a.arbit, b);
        }
        else
        {
            result = b;
            result.arbit = SortedMerge(a, b.arbit);
        }
 
        return result;
    }
 
    // Driver code
    public static void main(String[] args)
    {
        LinkedList list = new LinkedList();
 
        /* Let us create the list shown above */
        list.head = new Node(5);
        list.head.next = new Node(10);
        list.head.next.next = new Node(2);
        list.head.next.next.next = new Node(3);
 
        /* Sort the above created Linked List */
        Node ahead = list.populateArbit(head);
 
        System.out.println("Result Linked List is:");
        list.printList(head, ahead);
    }
}
 
// This code is contributed by shubham96301   

Python3




# Python3 program to populate arbit pointers
# to next higher value using merge sort
head = None
 
# Link l node
class Node:
     
    def __init__(self, data):
         
        self.data = data
        self.next = None
        self.arbit = None
 
# Utility function to print result linked l
def printList(node, anode):
 
    print("Traversal using Next Pointer")
     
    while (node != None):
        print(node.data, end = ", ")
        node = node.next
     
    print("\nTraversal using Arbit Pointer");
    while (anode != None):
        print(anode.data, end = ", ")
        anode = anode.arbit
     
# This function populates arbit pointer in
# every node to the next higher value. And
# returns pointer to the node with minimum
# value
def populateArbit(start):
 
    temp = start
 
    # Copy next pointers to arbit pointers
    while (temp != None):
        temp.arbit = temp.next
        temp = temp.next
 
    # Do merge sort for arbitrary pointers and
    # return head of arbitrary pointer linked l
    return MergeSort(start)
 
# Sorts the linked l formed by arbit pointers
# (does not change next pointer or data)
def MergeSort(start):
     
    # Base case -- length 0 or 1
    if (start == None or start.arbit == None):
        return start
 
    # Split head into 'middle' and
    # 'nextofmiddle' sublists
    middle = getMiddle(start)
    nextofmiddle = middle.arbit
    middle.arbit = None
 
    # Recursively sort the sublists
    left = MergeSort(start)
    right = MergeSort(nextofmiddle)
 
    # answer = merge the two sorted lists together
    sortedlist = SortedMerge(left, right)
 
    return sortedlist
 
# Utility function to get the
# middle of the linked l
def getMiddle(source):
 
    # Base case
    if (source == None):
        return source
         
    fastptr = source.arbit
    slowptr = source
 
    # Move fastptr by two and slow ptr by one
    # Finally slowptr will point to middle node
    while (fastptr != None):
        fastptr = fastptr.arbit
         
        if (fastptr != None):
            slowptr = slowptr.arbit
            fastptr = fastptr.arbit
         
    return slowptr
 
def SortedMerge(a, b):
 
    result = None
 
    # Base cases
    if (a == None):
        return b
    elif (b == None):
        return a
 
    # Pick either a or b, and recur
    if (a.data <= b.data):
        result = a
        result.arbit = SortedMerge(a.arbit, b)
    else:
        result = b
        result.arbit = SortedMerge(a, b.arbit)
     
    return result
 
# Driver code
if __name__=='__main__':
     
    # Let us create the l shown above
    head = Node(5)
    head.next = Node(10)
    head.next.next = Node(2)
    head.next.next.next = Node(3)
 
    # Sort the above created Linked List
    ahead = populateArbit(head)
 
    print("Result Linked List is:")
    printList(head, ahead)
 
# This code is contributed by rutvik_56

C#




// C# program to populate arbit pointers
// to next higher value using merge sort
using System;
public class LinkedList
{
  
    public Node head;
  
    /* Link list node */
    public class Node
    {
        public int data;
        public Node next, arbit;
  
        public Node(int data)
        {
            this.data = data;
            next = null;
            arbit = null;
        }
    }
  
    // Utility function to print result linked list
    void printList(Node node, Node anode)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Traversal using Next Pointer");
        while (node != null)
        {
            Console.Write(node.data + " ");
            node = node.next;
        }
  
        Console.WriteLine("\nTraversal using Arbit Pointer");
        while (anode != null)
        {
            Console.Write(anode.data + " ");
            anode = anode.arbit;
        }
    }
  
    // This function populates arbit pointer in every node to the
    // next higher value. And returns pointer to the node with
    // minimum value
    private Node populateArbit(Node start)
    {
  
        Node temp = start;
  
        // Copy next pointers to arbit pointers
        while (temp != null)
        {
            temp.arbit = temp.next;
            temp = temp.next;
        }
  
        // Do merge sort for arbitrary pointers and
        // return head of arbitrary pointer linked list
        return MergeSort(start);
    }
  
    /* sorts the linked list formed by arbit pointers
    (does not change next pointer or data) */
    private Node MergeSort(Node start)
    {
          
        /* Base case -- length 0 or 1 */
        if (start == null || start.arbit == null)
        {
            return start;
        }
  
        /* Split head into 'middle' and 'nextofmiddle' sublists */
        Node middle = getMiddle(start);
        Node nextofmiddle = middle.arbit;
  
        middle.arbit = null;
  
        /* Recursively sort the sublists */
        Node left = MergeSort(start);
        Node right = MergeSort(nextofmiddle);
  
        /* answer = merge the two sorted lists together */
        Node sortedlist = SortedMerge(left, right);
  
        return sortedlist;
    }
  
    // Utility function to get the middle of the linked list
    private Node getMiddle(Node source)
    {
        // Base case
        if (source == null)
            return source;
        Node fastptr = source.arbit;
        Node slowptr = source;
  
        // Move fastptr by two and slow ptr by one
        // Finally slowptr will point to middle node
        while (fastptr != null)
        {
            fastptr = fastptr.arbit;
            if (fastptr != null)
            {
                slowptr = slowptr.arbit;
                fastptr = fastptr.arbit;
            }
        }
        return slowptr;
    }
  
    private Node SortedMerge(Node a, Node b)
    {
        Node result = null;
  
        /* Base cases */
        if (a == null)
            return b;
        else if (b == null)
            return a;
  
        /* Pick either a or b, and recur */
        if (a.data <= b.data)
        {
            result = a;
            result.arbit = SortedMerge(a.arbit, b);
        }
        else
        {
            result = b;
            result.arbit = SortedMerge(a, b.arbit);
        }
  
        return result;
    }
  
    // Driver code
    public static void Main(String[] args)
    {
        LinkedList list = new LinkedList();
  
        /* Let us create the list shown above */
        list.head = new Node(5);
        list.head.next = new Node(10);
        list.head.next.next = new Node(2);
        list.head.next.next.next = new Node(3);
  
        /* Sort the above created Linked List */
        Node ahead = list.populateArbit(list.head);
  
        Console.WriteLine("Result Linked List is:");
        list.printList(list.head, ahead);
    }
}
 
/* This code contributed by PrinciRaj1992 */

Javascript




<script>
 
// Javascript program to
// populate arbit pointers
// to next higher value using
// merge sort
var head;
 
    /* Link list node */
     class Node {
            constructor(val) {
                this.data = val;
                this.arbit = null;
                this.next = null;
            }
        }
    // Utility function to print
    // result linked list
    function printList(node,  anode)
    {
        document.write(
        "Traversal using Next Pointer<br/>"
        );
        while (node != null) {
            document.write(node.data + ", ");
            node = node.next;
        }
 
        document.write(
        "<br/>Traversal using Arbit Pointer<br/>"
        );
        while (anode != null) {
            document.write(anode.data + ", ");
            anode = anode.arbit;
        }
    }
 
    // This function populates arbit
    // pointer in every node to the
    // next higher value. And returns
    // pointer to the node with
    // minimum value
    function populateArbit(start) {
 
var temp = start;
 
        // Copy next pointers to arbit pointers
        while (temp != null) {
            temp.arbit = temp.next;
            temp = temp.next;
        }
 
        // Do merge sort for arbitrary pointers and
        // return head of arbitrary pointer linked list
        return MergeSort(start);
    }
 
    /*
     sorts the linked list formed by
     arbit pointers (does not change next pointer
     or data)
     */
    function MergeSort(start) {
 
        /* Base case -- length 0 or 1 */
        if (start == null || start.arbit == null) {
            return start;
        }
 
        /* Split head into 'middle'
        and 'nextofmiddle' sublists */
      var middle = getMiddle(start);
      var nextofmiddle = middle.arbit;
 
        middle.arbit = null;
 
        /* Recursively sort the sublists */
var left = MergeSort(start);
var right = MergeSort(nextofmiddle);
 
        /* answer = merge the two sorted lists together */
var sortedlist = SortedMerge(left, right);
 
        return sortedlist;
    }
 
    // Utility function to get the
    // middle of the linked list
    function getMiddle(source) {
        // Base case
        if (source == null)
            return source;
var fastptr = source.arbit;
var slowptr = source;
 
        // Move fastptr by two and slow ptr by one
        // Finally slowptr will point to middle node
        while (fastptr != null) {
            fastptr = fastptr.arbit;
            if (fastptr != null) {
                slowptr = slowptr.arbit;
                fastptr = fastptr.arbit;
            }
        }
        return slowptr;
    }
 
    function SortedMerge(a,  b) {
var result = null;
 
        /* Base cases */
        if (a == null)
            return b;
        else if (b == null)
            return a;
 
        /* Pick either a or b, and recur */
        if (a.data <= b.data) {
            result = a;
            result.arbit = SortedMerge(a.arbit, b);
        } else {
            result = b;
            result.arbit = SortedMerge(a, b.arbit);
        }
 
        return result;
    }
 
    // Driver code
     
 
        /* Let us create the list shown above */
        head = new Node(5);
        head.next = new Node(10);
        head.next.next = new Node(2);
        head.next.next.next = new Node(3);
 
        /* Sort the above created Linked List */
        var ahead = populateArbit(head);
 
        document.write("Result Linked List is:<br/>");
        printList(head, ahead);
         
// This code contributed by gauravrajput1
 
</script>

Output: 

Result Linked List is:
Traversal using Next Pointer
5, 10, 2, 3,
Traversal using Arbit Pointer
2, 3, 5, 10,

This article is contributed by Saurabh Bansal. Please write comments if you find anything incorrect, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above
 




My Personal Notes arrow_drop_up
Recommended Articles
Page :

Start Your Coding Journey Now!