An evaluation of self-adjusting binary search tree techniques

Jim Bell, Gopal Gupta
1993 Software, Practice & Experience  
Much has been said in praise of self-adjusting data structures, particularly self-adjusting binary search trees. Self-adjusting trees are most suited to skewed key-access distributions as the techniques attempt to place the most commonly accessed keys near the root of the tree. Theoretical bounds on worst-case and amortized performance (i.e. performance over a sequence of operations) have been derived which compare well with those for optimal binary search trees. In this paper, we compare the
more » ... rformance of three different techniques for self-adjusting trees with that of AVL and random binary search trees. Comparisons are made for various tree sizes, levels of key-access-frequency skewness and ratios of insertions and deletions to searches. The results show that, because of the high cost of maintaining self-adjusting trees, in almost all cases the AVL tree outperforms all the self-adjusting trees and in many cases even a random binary search tree has better performance, in terms of CPU time, than any of the self-adjusting trees. Self-adjusting trees seem to perform best in a highly dynamic environment, contrary to intuition.
doi:10.1002/spe.4380230403 fatcat:jwllductsrdhre6n4pkrfim5fe