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Circular Linked List Introduction and Applications

circular linked ist

What is circular linked list?

As we know various data structures like trees, stack, linked list are present in the computer programming. We have already read about linked list, circular linked list is similar to the single linked list except that the last node points to the first node in the list. This means that circular linked list is a sequence of elements in which every element has link to its next element in the sequence and the last element has a link to the first element in the sequence. We will read more about circular linked list , its advantages and disadvantages, its application in this article and if you want to learn more about linked list you can smash the button below.

Circular linked list

  • This is a type of linked list in which the last node points to the starting node.

  • There is no null at the end in it.

  • It can be a singly circular linked list and doubly circular linked list like linked list.

More Information

The structure of the circular linked list is like a closed loop. A circular linked list has the following components –

Data: Value stored in a node is called the data. It could be anything an integer or a string or anything.

Pointer: Each node of the circular linked list contains a pointer which points to address of the next node.

Other keywords

Node: Any single unit of a circular linked list with its data and pointer is called a node.

Head: The node which define the beginning of the circular linked list is termed as node.

Tail: A circular linked list never ends so there is no tail in it like linked list.

Difference between linked list and circular linked list

Linked list is a linear data structure which consists of group of nodes in a sequence. Each node has got two parts , a data part- which stores the data and a address part- which stores the address of the next node. Hence forming a chain like structure. Linked list are used to create trees and graphs.

Circular linked list : In circular linked list the last node address part holds the address of the first node hence forming a circular chain like structure.

Difference between linked ist and circular linked list

Advantage of circular linked list

  • Entire list can be traversed from any node of the list.
  • It saves time when we have to go to the first node from the last node.
  • Its is used for the implementation of queue.
  • Reference to previous node can easily be found.
  • When we want a list to be accessed in a circle or loop then circular linked list are used.

Disadvantage of circular linked list

  • Circular list are complex as compared to singly linked lists.
  • Reversing of circular list is a complex as compared to singly or doubly lists.
  • If not traversed carefully, then we could end up in an infinite loop.
  • Like singly and doubly lists circular linked lists also doesn’t support direct accessing of elements.

Applications of Circular Linked List

A Circular Linked List can be used for the following –

  • Circular lists are used in applications where the entire list is accessed one-by-one in a loop.
  • It is also used by the Operating system to share time for different users, generally uses a Round-Robin time-sharing mechanism.
  • Multiplayer games use a circular list to swap between players in a loop.
  • Implementation of Advanced data structures like Fibonacci Heap
  • The browser cache which allows you to hit the BACK button
  • Undo functionality in Photoshop or Word
  • Circular linked lists are used in Round Robin Scheduling
  • Circular linked list used Most recent list (MRU LIST)