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Find out the difference between linear search and binary search

The strategies used to locate a specific element from a linear data collection are linear and binary searches (such as an array, linked list, etc.) Only the approach used to discover the desired element differs across the methods. Let’s explore each search separately to better understand the difference between linear search and binary search

The most basic search technique is linear search, which sequentially examines each item in a list until it locates a particular item. The object to be searched for and a sequence (such as an array, collection, or string) are the inputs to the linear search algorithm. 

If the supplied item is found in the sequence given, the result is true; otherwise, it is false. In the worst situation, this approach will go through all the items in the list before it finds the necessary element since it searches every item in the list until the desired item is discovered. The linear search’s complexity is o (n). As a result, searching components in lengthy lists is seen to be extremely slow to be effective. However, it’s far simpler and less difficult to put this into work. Keep reading to know the difference between linear search and binary search.

Linear search efficiency

The effectiveness of the strategy is based on how long it takes or how many comparisons are conducted while looking up a record in a search table. Only one comparison is performed if the required record is in the search table’s initial place. There must be ‘n’ comparisons made if the desired record is the most recent.

The average number of comparisons if the record appears anywhere in the search table will be (n+1/2). This method’s worst-case efficiency is O(n), where n is the order of execution. This is important to know while you are learning the difference between linear search and binary search.

Another technique for finding a specific item in a sorted list is binary search. The first step in this strategy is to compare the searched element to the middle-ranking entries in the list. The procedure ends and returns the element’s location if the comparison finds that the two items are equal. 

The process is restarted using just the bottom half of the sorted list if the sought element is greater than the middle element. The process is restarted using just the top half of the sorted list if the sought element is smaller than the middle element. The method will return a distinct result indicating that the sought element is not present in the list. Let’s check out more about Binary before we learn the difference between linear search and binary search.

Following is the logic behind this method:

  • Find the array’s centre element first.
  • The element to be searched is compared to the middle element of the array.

Three scenarios are possible:

  1. The search is successful if the element is the necessary element.
  2. Only the first half of the array should be searched when the element is smaller than the requested item.
  3. Search the second half of the array if it is greater than the targeted entry.

Till an element is discovered or the search area exhausts, repeat the same methods. The search region is always getting smaller with this algorithm. Therefore, log(N+1) is the maximum number of comparisons. It is therefore a more effective technique than linear search, but the array must first be sorted before doing the binary search. Continue reading for the difference between linear search and binary search.

1.  Description

  • In order to discover a matching element in a list, a linear search algorithm sequentially checks each element in the list.
  • A binary search algorithm locates a target value’s location within a sorted array.

2. Implementation

  • Any linear container may be used for linear searches (vector, Single Linked list, double linked list)
  • Only data structures that allow for two-way traversal can be used to implement binary searches.

3. How It Works

  • Without skipping any items, a linear search scans each object one at a time.
  • Once a middle position in a sorted list is identified, a binary search reduces the search to 50%.

4. Approach

  • The sequential technique is used in linear search functionality together with repetition or iteration.
  • The functionality of binary search uses a divide and conquer strategy.

5. Complexity

  • It is simple to utilise linear search since it does not require any ordered items.
  • The binary search is a little challenging since the items must be put in a specific sequence. Keep reading for more the difference between linear search and binary search.

6. Performance

  • Performance in linear search is determined by equality comparisons.
  • Order comparisons are used to improve performance in binary search.

7. Sorted Elements

  • Since the sorted items are not necessary for linear search in the C programming language, the elements are simply added at the end of the list.
  • Sorted arrays are necessary for a binary search in the C programming language to operate efficiently. This makes it easier to insert components where they are needed and, in turn, maintain sorted lists.

8. Worse-Case Scenario

  • The worst-case scenario for seeking an element in a linear search is equal to O(n) number of comparisons.
  • The worst-case situation for a binary search is O(Log2n) the number of similarities. Keep it in mind regarding the difference between linear search and binary search.

9. Best-Case Scenario

  • Finding the element in the first place in a linear search is the best case scenario O (1).
  • Finding the element in the midway position O is the ideal situation (1).

10. Prerequisites

  • All sorts of data may be searched using a linear method, regardless of whether they are sorted or generated at random. So there is no need to complete any pre-work.
  • Only a sorted array may be used for binary search. So, for this procedure to work, an array must be sorted.

11. Data Structure

  • With all types of data structures, including an array, list, linked list, etc. Linear search is adaptable.
  • All data structures cannot be searched in binary fashion since we require multi-directional traversal. Thus, it is impossible to employ data structures like the single linked list.


We comprehend the significance of data access in arrays and the linear search and binary search methods. walked through the binary and linear search codes. compared the difference between linear search and binary search, then conducted a practice run for a sizable case.

Read also: Read This To Know About Urad Dal Benefits

Jack henry
Jack henry
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