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# binary search

Posted on 2011-09-30
Medium Priority
199 Views
i wrote my binary search program as below...

char[] c1 = new char[]{'d','a','f','k','e'};
Arrays.sort(c1);
x = 'f';
binarySearch(c1,x);
public static int binarySearch(char [] c1, char x)
{
int low = 0;
int high = c1.length - 1;
int mid;
while( low <= high )
{
mid = ( low + high ) / 2;

if( c1[ mid ] == x )
low = mid + 1;
else if( c1[ mid ] ==  x )
high = mid - 1;
else
return mid;
}

return 1000;
}

I am not getting correct results with the above code

if x = 'f'

return value is 2

even if x = 'q'

return value is 2

what is the mistake

0
Question by:shragi
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 36895556
The above works - you should not for
precise equality, instead it should be < or >
0

LVL 13

Accepted Solution

Hugh McCurdy earned 2000 total points
ID: 36896213
This looks like homework.

One way to help yourself understand how your program works is to make yourself some "cards" (cut up a piece of paper) and put a letter on each card.  Then go through the program as if you are the computer.

Another is to print out the status of the program along the way.  In Java, you can use System.out.println();

For example  (place right after you set the value of mid)

System.out.println ( "mid = " + mid );
System.out.println ( "c1[mid] = " + c1 [ mid ] );
System.out.println ( "x = " + x );

This way you can see what your program is doing and (hopefully) why it won't work.

If you are still stuck, return here with the output of those println() messages.
0

LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 36897249

Shragi, you should change

if( c1[ mid ] == x )

to if(c1[mid] <x)

on its first occurrence
and

to (if(c1[mid] > x)

on its second occurrence,

as you need to determine in what half
your x value lies and based on that
either modify lower or upper boundary

As you understand in case if(c1[med] == x) then you'd rather
return med as the goal of your search (as you do it below).

So those were your two mistakes - replace those
==  by < in the first occurrence and by > in the second - and your code should be fine -
I tested it and it worked for me

_alias99,

shragi posted the whole code and asked to help to pinpoint the mistake
I found two mistakes (or rather one mistake made twice)
and communicated it. I posted the code which was all pasted form shragi's
question with two symbols corrected.
Homework or not, I don't think this interaction violates EE rules, which say:

"helping a student with a project is allowable, but not doing it for them."

The Asker wrote the code himself - it was just help and cannot be qualified as "doing it for them" by any means.

0

LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 36898244
for_yan, I did something similar in C++ and it wasn't OK with the moderator.  I was told that instead of telling the author which line was wrong was to say something like "you can't use a null pointer in C++; can you find the line where you used the null pointer?"  What I had done (wrong) was tell the author that he had a null pointer on line X.
0

LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 36908116
I also poseted explanation before - and this is not much of an issue - it was most probably a misprint on the part of the author, just put ==
when he meant > or < - nothing much
0

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