Linear Search in Python

Linear Search

Introduction to Linear Search in Python

Linear search in Python is a simple and straightforward searching algorithm used to find a specific element in a list or array. Enhance your search procedures utilizing the linear search algorithm in Python. 

Acquire comprehensive knowledge about step-by-step implementation of linear search in Python, grasp its fundamental principles and diverse applications.

What is Searching Technique?

Searching, in the context of computer science, refers to the process of locating a specific element, value, or data within a collection, such as an array, list, or database.

In Python, searching can be categorized into two main types:

    • Linear Search
    • Binary Search

Linear Search

Linear search, also referred to as sequential search, is a straightforward algorithmic method used to find a specific element within a collection, such as an array or a list.


How Linear Search Works ?

The following steps are followed for finding element k = 2  from the given array :


1. Start from the first element and traverse to the last. Here k=2 and each element is x.


2. If found(k==x); return the index.


3. Else, not found.

def linear_search(arr, target):
    for index, value in enumerate(arr):
        if value == target:
            return index  
    return -1  

my_list = [10, 3, 7, 1, 9, 5]
target_value = 7
result = linear_search(my_list, target_value)

if result != -1:
    print(f"Target {target_value} found at index {result}")
    print("Target not found in the list")

Output: Target 7 found at index 2

Explanation : 

In summary, the linear search algorithm iterates through the list to find the target value. In this specific case, the target value 7 is found at index 2 in the list, as indicated by the output.

Time Complexity for Linear Search

The time complexity of the linear search algorithm in Python is O(n), where “n” represents the number of elements in the list or array being searched. This means that as the size of the list grows, the time taken for the linear search also grows linearly.

There are mainly three case for Time complexity :

    • Best Case : O(1)
    • Average Case : O(n)
    • Worst Case : O(n)

The linear search in Python algorithm is well-suited for modestly sized lists (up to 100 elements) due to its examination of every element in pursuit of the sought-after value. In scenarios involving larger lists, such as a list of 10,000 elements with the target value situated at the concluding position, the process becomes time-consuming as each element necessitates comparison.

To expedite results, the binary search algorithm presents an alternative.

The fundamental principles of linear search have been elucidated. In the forthcoming tutorial, we will delve into the second and widely acclaimed searching algorithm known as Binary Search.

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Question 1.

What is linear search, and when is it used?

Linear search, also known as sequential search, is a basic algorithm that sequentially examines each element in a list to find a specific value. It’s used when the list is small or unsorted, and its simplicity allows for straightforward implementation.

Question 2.

How does linear search work in Python?

Linear search iterates through each element of a list and compares it with the target value. If a match is found, the index of the matching element is returned. If the entire list is searched without finding a match, -1 is returned.

Question 3.

What’s the time complexity of linear search?

The time complexity of linear search is O(n), where “n” is the number of elements in the list. It grows linearly with the size of the list, making it less efficient for larger datasets.

Question 4.

When should I use linear search?

Linear search is suitable for small lists or when the list is unsorted. It’s a good choice when the dataset is limited or when sorting the list might be more time-consuming than performing a linear search.

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