Today we are going to explore more helper functions provided by the Java standard library, and specifically functions that deals with Arrays, and Collections.

Arrays.sort(T[] arr)

there are a lot of overrides to this method, it works with almost all primitive types, and all generic types, it has a version in which you specify a Comparator Object to determine the ordering.

Note: Note : when using sort in Java you should be careful about what you are sorting, if the elements you are sorting are primitive values (int, long … ) the sort method will use quick sort algorithm to sort your elements which has an O(n*n) worst time complexity, i.e given the right test case could get you a TLE . the best solution for this is to use Objects instead of primitives (Integer, Long…) so the sort method will use a variation of merge sort with a worst time complexity of O(nLog(n)) . or shuffle the array before sorting it (not recommended).

Arrays.binarySearch(T[] arr, T key)

Implements the binary search algorithm and returns the index of the key if found, else it returns the negative value of the position where it should be inserted , or more formally (-(index – 1)).

If the elements are not sorted the behavior of the function is undefined .

Arrays.copyOfRange(T[] arr, int from, int to)

Creates a new array with length (to – from + 1) and contains all the elements from the original array in the range (form – to).

Arrays.toString(T[] arr)

Creates a pleasant String representation of the given array, which is basically a join of all it’s element by a , character. if the elements in the array are Objects their toString() method is invoked to get the String representation of each element.

Arrays.fill(T[] arr, T value)

Fills the given array with the given value.

Arrays.parallelPrefix(T[] arr, BinaryOperator operation)

Constructs a prefix array of the given one (in place) where all the elements are computed based on the passed operator and the last element , if we take the example of the array

arr = [1, 3, 4, 2] and we call the function with Arrays.parallelPrefix(arr, (a, b) -> a + b).

this will create this array [1, 4, 8, 10]. all what this is doing is creating a cumulative sum array which is quite popular when solving competitive programming contest, it’s just done with less code, also this function is very efficient when using large arrays.

Collections.copy(List dest ,list src)

Copies all the elements in the src list to the dest list.

Collections.reverse(List list)

Reverses the order of all the elements in the list,

Example : list = [1, 2, 3] after the function call list = [3, 2, 1]

Collections.shuffle(List list)

Randomly shuffles the elements in the list.

Collections.rotate(List dest ,int distance)

Rotates the elements of the list by the given distance, the element at index i will be the element previously at index (i – distance + size) % size after the rotation.

Well that’s most of what you need in a typical Competitive Programming contest, there are more methods i didn’t cover just because i never used them in competitive programming, the github repo will contain code demos of the given functions and more.

play with the code, and see you next time.