Webcitagram

What is a skip list? — A data structure that allows fast search within an ordered sequence of elements. Fast search is made possible by maintaining a linked hierarchy of subsequences, with each successive subsequence skipping over fewer elements than the previous one. Searching starts in the sparsest subsequence until two consecutive elements have been found, one smaller and one larger than or equal to the element searched for. A skip list is built in layers. The bottom layer is an ordinary ordered linked list. Each higher layer acts as an "express lane" for the lists below, where an element in layer i appears in layer i+1 with some fixed probability p (two commonly used values for p are 1/2 or 1/4).

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Google Interview

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