# Linear vs. Nonlinear Data Structures

**Difference Between Linear and Nonlinear Data Structures**

A data structure is a method to organize and keep data, which would allow efficient extraction and usage of data. The linear data structure is a structure which organizes its elements of data successively. Linear data structures are organized in a similar way to how the memory of the computer is organized. Structures of non linear data are constructed by tying a data element to several other elements of data in such a manner as it reflects a specific relation among them. Structures of non linear data are organized in a different manner that the memory of the computer.

Linear data structures

In Linear data structures the data elements are organized in a linear manner, where the elements of data are successively tied. The elements of data in a linear data structure are successively crossed and only one element can be directly attained by crossing. Structures of linear data are very easy to carry out, since the memory of the computer is also organized in a linear way. Some structures of commonly used linear data are arrays, linked lists, stacks and queues. Arrays are elements of collection of data elements where every element could be identified by using an index. A linked list is an order of nodes, where every node is composed of an element of data and a reference to the following node in order.

A stack is a list where the data elements can only be added or taken away from the top of the list. A queue is also a list, where the elements of data can be added from the end of the list and taken away from the other end of the list.

Nonlinear data structures

In nonlinear data structures, the elements of data are not organized in a sequential way. An item of data in a non linear data structure could be tied to several other elements of data to reflect a special report among them and all data items cannot be crossed in one run. Structures of data such as multidimensional arrays, trees and graphs are some examples of structures of broadly used non linear data. A collection of unidimensional arrays is known as multidimensional array. A data structure known as tree is composed of group of linked up nodes, which can be used to represent a hierarchic report among the elements of data. Graph is a structure of data which is composed of a group finished by vertices and edges. Edges are representing relationships among the vertices which keeps the elements of data.

Difference between Linear and Nonlinear Data Structures

The main difference between structures of non linear and linear data is in manner that they organize elements of data. In structures of linear data, the elements of data are consecutively organized and therefore they are easy to apply in the memory of the computer. In non linear data structures, a data element can be tied to several other elements of data to represent specific reports which exist among them. Owing to this non linear structure, they could be difficult to be applied in the linear memory of computer compared by the way to carry out structures of linear data. The choice of a type of structure of data on other one should be made carefully by considering the report among the elements of data which must be kept.