In computer science, a stack is a data structure that stores a collection of elements and operates on them based on the principle of last-in-first-out (LIFO). This means that the last element added to the stack is the first one to be removed. Stacks are commonly used in programming languages, operating systems, and other applications.
Operations on a Stack
There are two primary operations that can be performed on a stack:
- Push: Adds an element to the top of the stack.
- Pop: Removes the top element from the stack.
There are also a few other operations that can be performed on a stack:
- Peek: Returns the top element without removing it from the stack.
- Size: Returns the number of elements in the stack.
- IsEmpty: Checks if the stack is empty.
Implementing a Stack in Python
One way to implement a stack in Python is to use a list. Here’s some example code for a stack implementation using a list:
class Stack: def __init__(self): self.items =  def push(self, item): self.items.append(item) def pop(self): return self.items.pop() def peek(self): return self.items[-1] def size(self): return len(self.items) def is_empty(self): return len(self.items) == 0
This code defines a new class
Stack, which has six methods:
__init__: Initializes an empty list of items.
push: Adds an item to the top of the stack by appending it to the list.
pop: Removes the top item from the stack by using the
popmethod of the list.
peek: Returns the top item from the stack by indexing the list.
size: Returns the number of items in the stack by using the
is_empty: Returns True if the stack is empty (i.e., has zero items) and False otherwise.
Here’s an example of how you might use the
s = Stack()
s.push(1) s.push(2) s.push(3) print(s.peek()) # prints 3 print(s.pop()) # prints 3 print(s.pop()) # prints 2 print(s.size()) # prints 1 print(s.is_empty()) # prints False
This code creates a new stack
s and adds three items to it using the
push method. It then prints the top item using
peek, removes two items using
pop, and prints the size of the stack and whether it’s empty using
Advantages of Using a Stack
Stacks have several advantages in computer science:
- Easy to implement: Stacks are simple to implement using basic data structures such as arrays or linked lists.
- Efficient operations: Push, pop, peek, and other stack operations can be implemented in constant time, making stacks very efficient.
- Memory efficiency: Stacks are very memory-efficient, as they only need to store the items added to the stack.
Stacks are a commonly used data structure in computer science. They operate on the principle of last-in-first-out (LIFO) and have several useful operations, including push, pop, peek, size, and is_empty. Stacks can be implemented using basic data structures such as arrays or linked lists and are efficient and memory-efficient.
- What is a stack?
- A stack is a data structure that stores a collection of elements and operates on them based on the principle of last-in-first-out (LIFO).