DEV Community is a community of 605,211 amazing developers

We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.

What is a search algorithm?

The step-by-step method used to find specific information within a data set is known as the process of the search algorithm. In computing, it is known to be a fundamental method. In computer science, the distinction between a fast application and a slower one often lies in the use of the appropriate search algorithm when conducting a search for data.

To continue with the process, all search algorithms make use of a search key. Search algorithms, commonly represented by Boolean true/false, are supposed to return a success or failure status. There are various search algorithms available, and their productivity and efficiency depend on the data and the way they are being made use.

To search an element in a given array, there are two popular algorithms available:

Linear Search
Binary Search

Linear search is a very basic and easy search algorithm. In Linear search, we search for an element or value in an array by going through the array from the beginning, until the desired element or value is located. This compares the component to be searched with all the components present in the array and returns the index of the element in the array when the component is matched successfully, otherwise, it returns -1. When there are fewer elements in a list, Linear Search is applicable to unsorted or unordered lists.

Binary search an advanced type of search algorithm that identifies and retrieves data from a sorted list of items. It works by splitting the array by half on each iteration that is located under the necessary element. Start with an interval that covers the entire collection. Narrow the interval to the lower half of the value of the search key is less than the item in the middle of the interval. If not, narrow it to the upper half.