Updated April 1, 2023

## Difference Between Linear search vs Binary search

A method used for searching an element of a list is called sequential search or linear search in computer science. The basic working of linear search is that it searches sequentially each and every element of a list until the searched element is matched or the complete list has been searched. On the other hand, binary search performs searches in a sorted array by continuously dividing the search interval into two halves. It begins with an interval which can cover the whole array. In case the search key’s value is less than the item compared to the middle item of the interval, then narrow down the interval to the lower half. Or it will narrow it to the other half in the opposite case. In this topic, we are going to learn about Linear search vs Binary search in detail.

### Head to Head Comparison Between Linear search vs Binary search (Infographics)

Below are the top differences between Linear search vs Binary search

### Key Differences between Linear search vs Binary search

Some of the key differences between the Linear search vs Binary are given below:

- A linear search performs the searching process one element at a time without directly jumping onto another element. The worst complexity of the linear search is considered to be 0(n), and therefore it is also known as the 0(n) search. With the increase in the number of elements, the time taken to search a particular element. While doing linear research, the process runs in at the worst linear time and performs maximum n comparisons if n is the list’s length. If the process has to search each and every element, then the linear search does at an average of n+1/2 comparisons.
- In binary search operations, the data set is divided into two halves as soon as the middle element is found out in the sorted list. In its operation, the middle element is searched to check if the element is greater or less than the value that needs to be searched. Eventually, the search is done in either half of the particular list.
- Linear search is a kind of which searches an element of a data set by searching each element of the dataset sequentially until the element required is found. On the other hand, a binary search is a kind of search that continuously searches the middle element of the list until the middle element matches the searched element.
- In linear search, the search operation processes the search of the first element and then moves sequentially by searching each and every element, one element at a time. On the other hand, in binary search, the search operation bifurcates the data set into two halves while calculating the middle element of the data set.
- The process of linear search can be worked upon any linear data structure like a double linked list, linked list, and vector. On the other hand, the process of binary search can be worked on the data structures that have two-way traversal, which is backward traversal and forward traversal.
- The process of the linear search operation is considered to be very easy to use or less complex if compared to other search operations as there is no obligation of arranging the elements in any particular order; the elements can be in any random order. On the other hand, the process of binary search is a bit complex compared to linear search. This is because it needs the element to be arranged in a certain order to find the middle element, which helps divide the list into halves.
- As discussed above, while performing a linear search, the elements are not required to arrange in a particular order, it can be in any random order. On the other hand, while performing a binary search, the elements have to be arranged in a certain order. The elements can be arranged in either increasing order or in decreasing order, and accordingly, the algorithm has to be changed. The binary search operation uses a sorted array for the necessary operation of inserting the element in the correct place. While in linear search, there is no such need for a sorted array for inserting a new element at the end of the data set.
- Linear search is flexible for both multi-dimensional and single-dimensional arrays; on the other hand, binary search only works on the dimensional array.

### Comparison Table between Linear search vs Binary search

Comparison between Linear search vs Binary are given below:

Linear Search |
Binary Search |

In linear search, sorting is not required. | While doing a binary search, the input list is required to be sorted first. |

In linear search, sequential access of the elements is done. | On the other hand, in the binary search process – random elements are accessed while performing search operations. |

The time complexity in linear search is -0 (n) | In binary search, the time complexity is considered as 0(log n). |

While doing the linear search, equality comparisons are performed. Linear search performs equality comparisons. | In Binary search, ordering comparisons are performed. |

In the case of linear search, it can be implemented on any kind of linear data structure, including double linked list, single linked list, and vector. | On the other hand, binary search can be easily implemented on certain data structures which have two traversals, including backward and forward traversal. |

In terms of ease of use, the linear search can be considered an easier option, or we can also say that it’s a less complex option as the elements of a list while doing a linear search can be arranged in any random order. | On the other hand, binary search is a bit complex where the elements of the list are needed to be arranged in a certain order. |

In the case of a huge data set, the linear search can be considered as a high computational costing option and also slower than its counterparts. | In the case of binary search, large data sets have a lower computational cost as compared to their counterparts, and also the speed is on the higher side. |

### Conclusion

On the basis of the above article, we understood the two different searching methods, mainly linear search and binary search. Furthermore, we understood the major differences between the two searching methods based on their working, pros, and cons. This article would be a help for beginners who are looking to learn about searching methods.

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