What are trees?

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Trees are plants that grow...

In computers, a tree is usually a binary data structure. There are also tree-like structures with many branches, beyond the two.

It is difficult to answer your question without context however.

Being in programming, you are probably asking about a tree of data storage.

Think about storing 3 numbers in order: 15, 27, 42.

You can write a data structure that has the following information:

struct data {
 	int number;
 	pointer prev;
 	pointer next;

So, we can store this in a tree to help our data structure and search times.

15 --- 27 --- 42.

Your code would look at 27 first. Do you need the value smaller than 27? then go left. If you need the greater value, go right. If the value you are looking for is not there, you only looked at two variables instead of three.

This is a very simple example, but should give you the gist of it. Trees are data structures that are tricky to program, but when they are done correctly, searching for information is a lot less time intensive.


Just to tag on here, generally a tree is a collection of records (usually called 'nodes' when in a tree) that have a 'parent' and one or more 'children'. Practical examples of trees include organizational charts (President, VP's, Workers), species charts, and anything you can specify as an outline.

What are trees?

Wow, that kind of clarity triggered my heart attack.

If you see something dividing into two or more, there you have a tree. Trees are good. We all love trees.

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