Daily Archives: August 1, 2005

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Finding a Loop in a Singly Linked List


A singly linked list is a common data structure familiar to all computer scientists. A singly linked list is made of nodes where each node has a pointer to the next node (or null to end the list). A singly linked list is often used as a stack (or last in first out queue (LIFO)) because adding a new first element, removing the existing first element, and examining the first element are very fast O(1) operations.

When working with singly linked list, you are typically given a link to the first node. Common operations on a singly linked list are iterating through all the nodes, adding to the list, or deleting from the list. Algorithms for these operations generally require a well formed linked list. That is a linked list without loops or cycles in it.

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