When it comes to searching for a specific value in a set of data, two popular algorithms come to mind: binary search and linear search.

Both have their own techniques, advantages, and applications

In this article, we will discuss the differences between binary search vs linear search.

Binary search is a divide-and-conquer algorithm that is commonly used to search for a value in a sorted list or array

The algorithm begins by checking the middle value of the array. If the target value is less than the middle value, the algorithm continues searching in the left half of the array.

If the target value is greater than the middle value, the algorithm continues searching in the right half of the array.

This process is repeated until the target value is found or until there are no more elements to search.

Linear search, on the other hand, is a simple algorithm that sequentially searches each element of a list or array until the target value is found

It is often used for small lists or unsorted data, but can also be used for large lists with random access memory.

## Binary Search Vs Linear Search: Differences

1. Speed

One advantage of binary search over linear search is its speed

Binary search has a time complexity of O(log n), which means it can search a list of n elements in a time proportional to log n.

Linear search, on the other hand, has a time complexity of O(n), which means it can search a list of n elements in a time proportional to n.

Therefore, binary search is more efficient when dealing with large datasets.

1. Sorted And Unsorted Data

Another advantage of binary search is that it can be used on both sorted and unsorted data, while the linear search can only be used on unsorted data.

However, sorting the data beforehand can improve the efficiency of binary search.

## Binary Search Types

There are two main binary search types: iterative and recursive.

Iterative binary search uses a loop to search for the target value, while recursive binary search uses a function that calls itself to search for the target value

Recursive binary search is often more elegant and easier to read but can be less efficient due to the overhead of function calls.

Despite its advantages, binary search is not always the best choice.

If the data is small or unsorted, the linear search can be more efficient.

Linear search also has a space complexity of O(1), meaning it uses constant space regardless of the size of the data.

## Final Thoughts

In conclusion, binary search vs linear search are both important algorithms for searching for a value in a set of data.

Binary search is more efficient for large and sorted datasets, while linear search is more efficient for small and unsorted datasets.

Choosing the right algorithm depends on the size and structure of the data.

An example of binary search could be searching for a specific word in a sorted dictionary, while an example of linear search could be searching for a name in an unsorted list of contacts.