Why start + (end – start)/2 is preferable method for calculating middle of an array over (start + end)/2 ?
I am very sure that everyone is able to find middle index of array once you know start index and end index of array, but there are certain benefits of using start + (end – start)/2 over (start + end)/2, which are described below :
The very first way of finding middle index is
mid = (start + end)/2
But there is problem with this approach, what if value of start or end or both is INT_MAX, it will cause integer overflow.
The better way of calculating mid index is :
mid = start + (end - start)/2
Let’s try these both methods in C program :
start = 2147483647 end = 2147483647 mid using (start + end)/2 = -1 mid using start + (end - start)/2 = 2147483647
Note : (end – start) may overflow if end < 0 or start < 0
If you see the output, by using second method you get correct output and first method fails to calculate mid and if you use this index (-1 in this case), it can cause segmentation fault because of invalid index of array.
start + (end – start)/2 also works even if you are using pointers :
error: invalid operands of types ‘int*’ and ‘int*’ to binary ‘operator+’ int *mid = (start + end)/2;
It will compile and give expected results
Explanation: pointer addition is not supported in C while pointer subtraction is supported, the reason being the result of subtraction is the difference (in array elements) between the operands. The subtraction expression yields a signed integral result of type ptrdiff_t (defined in the standard include file STDDEF.H)(in short subtraction gives memory distance), but addition of two pointers in not meaningful, that’s why not supported
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