A real-world example of queue can be a single-lane one-way road, where the vehicle enters first, exits first. More real-world examples can be seen as queues at the ticket windows and bus-stops.
As we now understand that in queue, we access both ends for different reasons. The following diagram given below tries to explain queue representation as data structure:
As in stacks, a queue can also be implemented using Arrays, Linked-lists, Pointers and Structures. For the sake of simplicity, we shall implement queues using one-dimensional array.
Queue operations may involve initializing or defining the queue, utilizing it, and then completely erasing it from the memory. Here we shall try to understand the basic operations associated with queues:
enqueue(): add (store) an item to the queue.
dequeue(): remove (access) an item from the queue.
Few more functions are required to make the above-mentioned queue operation efficient. These are:
peek(): Gets the element at the front of the queue without removing it.
isfull(): Checks if the queue is full.
isempty(): Checks if the queue is empty.
In queue, we always dequeue (or access) data, pointed by front pointer and while enqueing (or storing) data in the queue we take help of rear pointer.
Let's first learn about supportive functions of a queue ?
This function helps to see the data at the front of the queue. The algorithm of peek() function is as follows:
Algorithm
begin procedure peek
return queue[front]
end procedure
Implementation of peek() function in C programming language:
Example
int peek() {
return queue[front];
}
As we are using single dimension array to implement queue, we just check for the rear pointer to reach at MAXSIZE to determine that the queue is full. In case we maintain the queue in a circular linked-list, the algorithm will differ. Algorithm of isfull() function ?
Algorithm
begin procedure isfull
if rear equals to MAXSIZE
return true
else
return false
endif
end procedure
Implementation of isfull() function in C programming language:
Example
bool isfull() {
if(rear == MAXSIZE - 1)
return true;
else
return false;
}
Algorithm of isempty() function:
Algorithm
begin procedure isempty
if front is less than MIN OR front is greater than rear
return true
else
return false
endif
end procedure
If the value of front is less than MIN or 0, it tells that the queue is not yet initialized, hence empty.
Here's the C programming code:
Example
bool isempty() {
if(front < 0 || front > rear)
return true;
else
return false;
}
Queues maintain two data pointers, front and rear. Therefore, its operations are comparatively difficult to implement than that of stacks.
The following steps should be taken to enqueue (insert) data into a queue:
Step 1 Check if the queue is full.
Step 2 If the queue is full, produce overflow error and exit.
Step 3 If the queue is not full, increment rear pointer to point the next empty space.
Step 4 Add data element to the queue location, where the rear is pointing.
Step 5 return success.
Sometimes, we also check to see if a queue is initialized or not, to handle any unforeseen situations.
procedure enqueue(data)
if queue is full
return overflow
endif
rear ? rear + 1
queue[rear] ? data
return true
end procedure
Implementation of enqueue() in C programming language:
Example
int enqueue(int data)
if(isfull())
return 0;
rear = rear + 1;
queue[rear] = data;
return 1;
end procedure
Accessing data from the queue is a process of two tasks ? access the data where front is pointing and remove the data after access. The following steps are taken to perform dequeue operation ?
Step 1 Check if the queue is empty.
Step 2 If the queue is empty, produce underflow error and exit.
Step 3 If the queue is not empty, access the data where front is pointing.
Step 4 Increment front pointer to point to the next available data element.
Step 5 Return success.
procedure dequeue
if queue is empty
return underflow
end if
data = queue[front]
front ? front + 1
return true
end procedure
Implementation of dequeue() in C programming language
Example:
int dequeue() {
if(isempty())
return 0;
int data = queue[front];
front = front + 1;
return data;
}