Data Structures Fundamentals

Course 2 of 8: MicroMasters® Program in Algorithms and Data Structures 6 Weeks 8 - 10 hours each week

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About this course

A good algorithm usually comes together with a set of good data structures that allow the algorithm to manipulate the data efficiently. In this course, part of the Algorithms and Data Structures MicroMasters program, we consider the common data structures that are used in various computational problems. You will learn how these data structures are implemented in different programming languages and will practice implementing them in our programming assignments. This will help you to understand what is going on inside a particular built-in implementation of a data structure and what to expect from it. You will also learn typical use cases for these data structures.

A few examples of questions that we are going to cover in this course are:

  1. What is a good strategy of resizing a dynamic array?
  2. How priority queues are implemented in C++, Java, and Python?
  3. How to implement a hash table so that the amortized running time of all operations is O(1) on average?
  4. What are good strategies to keep a binary tree balanced?

We look forward to seeing you in this course! We know it will make you a better programmer.

What you’ll learn

  • Basics of data structures including their fundamental building blocks: arrays and linked lists
  • How to use Dynamic arrays
  • A very powerful and widely used technique called hashing and its applications
  • How to use priority queues to efficiently schedule jobs, in the context of a computer operating system or real life
  • Basic structure of binary search trees – AVL trees and Splay trees
  • Applications of data structures


Basic grasp of:

  • One programming language (C,C++,C#,Haskell,Java,JavaScript,Python2/3,Ruby,Scala)-loop, array, stack, recursion
  • Math-proof by induction and contradiction
  • The Algorithmic Design and Techniques class


Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

Meet Your Instructors

Daniel Kane

Assistant Professor,
Computer Science and Engineering & Dept. of Mathematics
UC San Diego

Alexander S. Kulikov

Visiting Professor
UC San Diego

Michael Levin

Chief Data Scientist

Neil Rhodes

UC San Diego


6 Weeks

Experience Level


Learning Partner

San Diego

Program Type

Advanced Business Harvard X-Series