CSC 161 Grinnell College Spring, 2013
Imperative Problem Solving and Data Structures

Module on Pointers, Stacks, and Queues

Summary and Main Topics

This module applies previous concepts (e.g., pointers, linked lists) to widely-used dynamic data structures. Topics covered include:

  1. More about pointers
  2. Variations of linked lists
  3. Stacks
  4. Queues
Day Topic Preparation In-class Due Date Availability
Friday, April 19 Hour Test 3 Covers through Linked Lists in the previous Module    
Monday, April 22 Abstract data types
Stacks, queues
Readings on      
Tuesday, April 23 Abstract data types
reading on stacks lab on stacks    
Wednesday, April 24 Abstract data types
reading on queues lab on queues Due: Monday, April 29  
Friday, April 26 Bash scripts
Using Bash scripts for testing
reading on Bash Scripts lab on bash scripts   Wednesday, May 8
Monday, April 29 Project Examples: Stack implementations
  • main program using stack operations according to some implementation
  • approach 1, in which the stack contains an array of pointers and the stack just points to strings as entered
  • approach 2, in which the stack contains an array of the strings themselves and strings are copied onto the stack and copied back
  • approach 3, in which the stack contains an array of pointers and space is allocated to copy the string during each push operation.
  • approach 4, in which the stack contains an array of the strings themselves and strings are copied onto the stack and just a reference is to the string is returned by a pop.
Variations with Stacks Due: Friday, May 3  

Project: Variations with Stacks

The readings for this project show four different approaches for implementing a stack based on an underlying array structure. In particular, each approach uses a fixed size array to store strings on a stack. When all items in the array are in use, the stack is full and further push operations will fail.

The variations among the stack implementations involve what is actually stored during a push operation and what is returned during a pop operation. In brief, some possibilities are:

The main program in the reading pushes several items onto several stacks and then pops the stacks and prints the results. All four stack approaches work fine in this simple context.

Project, Part 1: Code Analysis

Examine each of the four implementation approaches supplied in the project reading. For each approach, identify:

In each case, briefly justify your conclusions.

Project, Part 2: Experimentation

Create a main program that creates a single stack and then uses the standard stack operations in the following sequence:

Review the output obtained with each of the four stack implementation approaches, and explain the results obtained (what variables remain the same, what changes and how).

Project, Part 3: A Stack of Pictures

Suppose you wanted to use a stack to store successive pictures taken by a Scribbler 2 robot. For each of the four approaches identified for strings,

Project, Part 4: Your Preference for a Stack of Pictures

In reviewing various approaches for implementing an array-based stack of pictures, how would you proceed? Would you adapt one of the approaches discussed for strings? Would you use a different approach (explain)?


This project will be worth 25 points, based on the following rubric: