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Data Structures in C++ – Queue & Heap

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by Prepbytes

In this article, we will be discussing Data Structures in C++ topics i.e. Queue and heap.
A data structure is not only used for organizing the data. It is also used for processing, retrieving, and storing data. There are different basic and advanced types of data structures that are used in almost every program or software system that has been developed. So we must have good knowledge about data structures.

Why Learn Data Structure?

Data structure and algorithms are two of the most important aspects of computer science. Data structures allow us to organize and store data, while algorithms allow us to process that data in a meaningful way. Learning data structure and algorithms will help you become a better programmer. You will be able to write code that is more efficient and more reliable. You will also be able to solve problems more quickly and more effectively.

Data Structures in C++ is an important part of Programming. Get a better understanding of problems by watching these video tutorials created by expert mentors at PrepBytes.


A queue can be defined as an ordered list which enables insert operations to be performed at one end called REAR and delete operations to be performed at another end called FRONT. Queue is referred to as First In First Out list.
For example, people waiting in line for a rail ticket form a queue.

Operations performed on queue

The fundamental operations that can be performed on queue are listed as follows –

  • Enqueue: The Enqueue operation is used to insert the element at the rear end of the queue. It returns void.
  • Dequeue: It performs the deletion from the front-end of the queue. It also returns the element which has been removed from the front-end. It returns an integer value.
  • Peek: This is the third operation that returns the element, which is pointed by the front pointer in the queue but does not delete it.
  • Queue overflow (isfull): It shows the overflow condition when the queue is completely full.
  • Queue underflow (isempty): It shows the underflow condition when the Queue is empty, i.e., no elements are in the Queue.

Applications of Queue

Due to the fact that queue performs actions on a first in first out basis which is quite fair for the ordering of actions. There are various applications of queues discussed below.

  1. Queues are widely used as waiting lists for a single shared resource like printer, disk, CPU.
  2. Queues are used in asynchronous transfer of data (where data is not being transferred at the same rate between two processes) for eg. pipes, file IO, sockets.
  3. Queues are used as buffers in most of the applications like MP3 media player, CD player, etc.
  4. Queues are used to maintain the playlist in media players in order to add and remove the songs from the play-list.
  5. Queues are used in operating systems for handling interrupts.

Working of Queue

Queue operations work as follows:

  • two pointers FRONT and REAR
  • FRONT track the first element of the queue
  • REAR track the last element of the queue
  • initially, set value of FRONT and REAR to -1

Enqueue Operation

  • check if the queue is full
  • for the first element, set the value of FRONT to 0
  • increase the REAR index by 1
  • add the new element in the position pointed to by REAR

Dequeue Operation

  • check if the queue is empty
  • return the value pointed by FRONT
  • increase the FRONT index by 1
  • for the last element, reset the values of FRONT and REAR to -1


#include <iostream>
#include <queue>
using namespace std;

int main() {

  // create a queue of int
  queue<int> nums;

  // push element into the queue
  // get the element at the front
  int front = nums.front();
  cout << "First element: " << front << endl;
  // get the element at the back
  int back = nums.back();
  cout << "Last element: " << back << endl;
  return 0;


Heap represents a special tree based data structure used to represent priority queue or for heap sort. We’re going to discuss binary heap trees specifically.

Operations of Heap Data Structure:

  • Heapify: a process of creating a heap from an array.
  • Insertion: process to insert an element in existing heap time complexity O(log N).
  • Deletion: deleting the top element of the heap or the highest priority element, and then organizing the heap and returning the element with time complexity O(log N).
  • Peek: to check or find the most prior element in the heap, (max or min element for max and min heap).

Types of Heap Data Structure

Generally, Heaps can be of two types:
Max-Heap: In a Max-Heap the key present at the root node must be greatest among the keys present at all of its children. The same property must be recursively true for all sub-trees in that Binary Tree.

Min-Heap: In a Min-Heap the key present at the root node must be minimum among the keys present at all of its children. The same property must be recursively true for all sub-trees in that Binary Tree.

Now let’s see the creation of heap by using an example.


#include <iostream>
#include <vector>
using namespace std;

void swap(int *a, int *b)
  int temp = *b;
  *b = *a;
  *a = temp;
void heapify(vector<int> &hT, int i)
  int size = hT.size();
  int largest = i;
  int l = 2 * i + 1;
  int r = 2 * i + 2;
  if (l < size && hT[l] > hT[largest])
    largest = l;
  if (r < size && hT[r] > hT[largest])
    largest = r;

  if (largest != i)
    swap(&hT[i], &hT[largest]);
    heapify(hT, largest);
void insert(vector<int> &hT, int newNum)
  int size = hT.size();
  if (size == 0)
    for (int i = size / 2 - 1; i >= 0; i--)
      heapify(hT, i);
void deleteNode(vector<int> &hT, int num)
  int size = hT.size();
  int i;
  for (i = 0; i < size; i++)
    if (num == hT[i])
  swap(&hT[i], &hT[size - 1]);

  for (int i = size / 2 - 1; i >= 0; i--)
    heapify(hT, i);
void printArray(vector<int> &hT)
  for (int i = 0; i < hT.size(); ++i)
    cout << hT[i] << " ";
  cout << "\n";

int main()
  vector<int> heapTree;

  insert(heapTree, 3);
  insert(heapTree, 4);
  insert(heapTree, 9);
  insert(heapTree, 5);
  insert(heapTree, 2);

  cout << "Max-Heap array: ";

  deleteNode(heapTree, 4);

  cout << "After deleting an element: ";


Test your data structure skills by taking this Data Structures in C++ Mock Test designed by experienced mentors at PrepBytes.

We tried to discuss Data Structures in C++ in this article. We hope this article gives you a better understanding of basics in Data Structures and Algorithms. Prepbytes also provides a good collection of Foundation Courses that can help you enhance your coding skills. Want to make sure you ace the interview in one go? Join our Placement Program that will help you get prepared and land your dream job at MNCs. Mentors of Prepbytes are highly experienced and can provide you with basic, in-depth subject knowledge for better understanding.

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