# How to Use a Great Linear Search Algorithm Like A Pro and Be #1 Regardless of the application, a Linear Search Algorithm is a great way to get the most out of your database. The main reason for this is that this algorithm can be used to find data in a very short amount of time. This is an important factor to keep in mind, especially when you’re trying to build a large database.

## Basics

Basically, an algorithm of linear search is a method of sequential searching. This means that it searches the list from start to finish, checking each item until the target is found. If the search is successful, the location of the element is returned. If not, the element is marked as non-existent.

The linear search algorithm is a very simple algorithm, but it can be very effective when applied to small lists. The algorithm uses an if-then-else construct to decide whether the search is successful or not. In the worst case scenario, the cost is O(n), which means it takes n comparisons.  This cost is known as big o notation of linear search.

A basic example of linear search is when you want to locate the last element in a sorted list. In that case, the best option is to find the element in the middle of the search area.

Another example of a linear search is when you are searching for a single element in an unordered list. This can be done by using an unsorted array, which is a collection of small components.

The best case time complexity of linear search works in O(1) when the target element matches the initial segment. If the search fails, it returns the value -1. It then goes to the next element. When the value does not match the value at the counter position, the counter is incremented by 1.

The worst case scenario is when the value does not occur once at the beginning of the list, but once at the end. This is referred to as a perfect match.

The other way to look at a linear search is to say it is a half-interval search. In this case, the value at the first location is the sentinel, which eliminates the second comparison.

## Binary search

Using a binary search algorithm is often a good way to find an element in an array. This method of searching is a kind of divide-and-conquer technique. It requires sorting your data, and then dividing the array into two parts by half. Then you compare each element in the array with the value you’re searching for. If the target isn’t in the list, it will return -1. If it is, it will go to the index of the middle element.

Binary searches are useful for larger sorted arrays. They make searching cycles shorter by reducing the number of candidates to search. They also make the search more accurate. However, they are not perfect. They are also non-deterministic. Their best and worst case times are two or three orders of magnitude apart. This means they do not scale well with increasing data.

During a binary search, an array of sorted values is compared to a single element, which is the middle value. Then the element is compared with its nearest neighbor. If it is not in the array, it is eliminated. Then the search continues on the remaining half of the array. The process is repeated until the target is found.

The complexity of a binary search is calculated by taking the logarithm base two of the result. For example, if the average value of the middle element is four, and the target is 11, then the complexity is log(4/2). This is called the upper bound. The lower bound is the maximum amount of elements that the search can find.

The encoding length also increases the time required for comparing two elements. This is why it can be expensive to compare large encoding lengths.

## Sequential search

Whenever you are looking for a particular element in a list, there are several search algorithms available. These search algorithms are based on different complexities. One of the simplest search algorithms is Linear Search.

In this algorithm, each element in the list is checked sequentially to find the element that you are looking for. Then, the element that you have found is returned to you.

Linear search is a simple and effective search algorithm that works well when the list has few items. This algorithm can also be applied to multi-dimensional arrays. Its time complexity is O(n) for an array of n elements.

The best search algorithm is binary search, which is also called the half-interval search. This algorithm is much faster than linear search. It requires the input size of the array list and divides it into sorted groups.

Another search algorithm is interpolation search, which is useful when you need to search uniformly distributed values. It is a better search than binary search, and can be used for searching numerical values. These search algorithms can be found in the Grokking Algorithms book.

Another type of search algorithm is the depth-first search. This is the easiest search and is often used for finding a particular value in a list.

This search is similar to the way people look up phone numbers. It runs through a loop to check each element of an array. It then returns the index of the element that is found. In case the match is not found, it fails and returns -1.

The worst case scenario for this search is when the value does not occur at all. It costs you the time needed to run the search.

## Time complexity

Using the Linear Search Algorithm, you can search for the smallest value in an unsorted list. If the target is found, the relevant index is returned. If not, the function returns -1. Then it moves on to the next element. This works well when the list is small. However, if the list is large, the time taken for the search is unacceptably slow.

The time complexity of the algorithm depends on how much information is used in the algorithm and the size of the data. If the data is small, the time taken for the search is O(n) and if the data is large, the time taken for the search increases as the number of elements increases.

The worst case time complexity of linear search is when the value is at the end of the list. In this scenario, n comparisons are made. The first comparison is made to check whether the value is present at the first position of the list. If the value is not present at the first position, n comparisons are made to check whether the value is at the second, third, fourth and so on.

The average case for the time complexity of the algorithm is when the value is present at the beginning of the list. In this case, the running time is usually the same as the worst case. This is because the time taken for each comparison is multiplied by the number of times the statement is repeated.

In some situations, the running time of the algorithm is closer to the average case. In this case, the function checks each element of the list and finds the smallest value. If the smallest value is not found, then the function returns -1.

## Applications

Using the linear search algorithm is a simple way to perform fast searches of small to medium lists. It is useful in situations where there are memory constraints, or randomized data sets. It can be implemented on any linear data structure, including sorted and unsorted arrays.

The algorithm starts from the beginning of the list and iterates through each element of the list. It checks the elements until a match is found. If a match is found, the address of the matching target is returned. If a match is not found, the algorithm returns -1. The algorithm may stop at the end of the list, or it may continue on.

A binary search linear search is a more sophisticated search algorithm. It is more efficient than the linear search, in that it eliminates half of the remaining data with each pass. It is also more efficient in large data sets, as it can be implemented on data structures that have two-way traversal.

A sequential search is another popular searching algorithm. It searches through the elements of a list looking for a name that begins with ‘A’. It is best suited for real-world applications such as a phonebook. The main advantage of the linear search applications is that they are relatively easy to implement. It is not affected by insertions, deletions, or re-sorting.

The worst case scenario for the linear search is n comparisons, where each comparison takes O(n), compared to O(log n) for the binary search. However, the best case is O(n+1) if the sentinel value is greater than the target.

The linear search algorithm has been implemented in 17 different languages, including Java, C, and Python. It is used in a variety of programming environments, from embedded programming to database software.  The linear search in javascript looks like the image below.  It is very easy to implement and is very helpful for finding a matching element inside an array. If you like what you read, check out our other Algorithm articles here.