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Trie cheatsheet for coding interviews

Introduction

Tries are special trees (prefix trees) that make searching and storing strings more efficient. Tries have many practical applications, such as conducting searches and providing autocomplete. It is helpful to know these common applications so that you can easily identify when a problem can be efficiently solved using a trie.

Be familiar with implementing from scratch, a Trie class and its add, remove and search methods.

Learning resources

Time complexity

m is the length of the string used in the operation.

OperationBig-ONote
SearchO(m)
InsertO(m)
RemoveO(m)

Corner cases

  • Searching for a string in an empty trie
  • Inserting empty strings into a trie

Techniques

Sometimes preprocessing a dictionary of words (given in a list) into a trie, will improve the efficiency of searching for a word of length k, among n words. Searching becomes O(k) instead of O(n).

Essential questions

These are essential questions to practice if you're studying for this topic.

These are recommended questions to practice after you have studied for the topic and have practiced the essential questions.

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