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Muhammad Asif
Muhammad Asif

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Time Complexity - The Easiest Way

Hey, What's up guys😊

In this article, I will talk about a basic topic in computer programming which is Time Complexity(O). Though this is basic thing but many student, senior/mid level programmers are don't understand clearly this Time Complexity. I hope you guys practice with my code and Read carefully this article so that you can understand this clearly.

What is Time Complexity?
A Programs takes how much time to execute is called Time Complexity
It is always better to select the most efficient algorithm when a simple problem can solve with different methods. Time complexity defines by Big O notation.

Time Complexity depends on some operations --

  • Assignment operation -> x = 10
  • Comparison operation -> a > b
  • Mathematical operation -> a + b, a -b
  • Function call and it's inside work -> function() and include all the operations

I will start coding into C++, Because most of beginners are learn C and C++ language in their classes. So include the important header files

#include <stdio.h>
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
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All code will be inside the int main() function. Let's Jump into code...

1. Time Complexity O(1):
When the number of operations in the program does not depend on the input and the number of operations is constant, we call it O(n).if any problem has one assignment operation then the Time Complexity will be O(1). Example--

int n1, n2, result1;
    n1 = 10;    // 1 assignment operation
    n2 = 20;    // 1 assignment operation
    result1 = n1 + n2;   // 2 assignment operation =, +
    cout << "result no 1: " << result1 <<endl; //using double endl for line space
    cout << endl;
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We see that, there is 4 operations, but the Time complexity will be O(1). Because here operation is constant. No matter how much input value is. the operation does not depend on input values.

2. Time Complexity O(n):
The number of operations is proportional to N values

int n3, result2;
    cout<< "Type O(1) Input_";
    // scanf("%d", &n);
    cin >> n3;
    result2 = n3 * (n3 + 1) / 2;    //here 1 assignment and 3 mathmatical operation = 4 operation
    cout << "result no 2: " << result2 << endl;
    cout << endl;
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So the Time Complexity will be O(1). whatever the n value is, the operation is constant here too.

Now I will solve the same type problem in loop. the output will be linear type. But the Time Complexity will be same? what will be the complexity of this program? let's see.

int i, n4, result3;
    cout << "type O(n) input_";
    cin >> n4;
    result3 = 0;
    for(i = 0; i <= n4; i++){
        result3 = result3 + 1;
        cout << "result no 3 = " << result3 << endl;
    cout << endl;
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Here we see that, if n value is 3, the loop will run 3 time and the operations will run 6 times. because there is two operations(=, +). 1 loop run = 2 operation run.
if n = 1 operation = 2
n = 5 operation = 10
n = 10 operation = 20
n is proportional to operation. so the operation is increasing by 2 times. so this 2 is constant we know and we can remove this 2. Now the complexity is O(n).

3. Time Complexity O(n^2):
The value of n will be the square of the number of operations

int i2, j2, n5, count;
    cout << "Type O(n^2) input_";
    cin >> n5;
    count = 0;
    for(i2 = 0; i2 < n5; i2++){
        for(j2 = 0; j2 < n5; j2++){
            count = count + 1;
    cout << "----result no 4----" << endl;
    cout << "n = " << n5 << ", count = " << count << endl;
    cout << endl;
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For two loop operation
if n = 1 , count = 1
n = 2, count = 4
n = 3, count = 9,
n = 10, count = 100
We see that, the value of count is increasing by 2 multiplying, which i n^2. so the Time Complexity will be O(n^2). when the two loop will be depend on same value(n), then we can call it O(n^2), otherwise it will be O(n). Because the operation numbers are constant, whatever it is 2, 3, 4 etc.

4. Time Complexity O(n^3):
think about loop, The number of loops depends on the value of n. if the loop is 3 times and the nth value is 3 times the Time Complexity will be O(n^3) and the each operation will run for 3 times. that's the main fact--

int i3, j3, k3, n6, count2;
    cout << "Type O(n^3) input_";
    cin >> n6;
    for(i3 = 0; i3 < n6; i3++){
        for(j3 = 0; j3 < n6; j3++){
            for(k3 = 0; k3 < n6; k3++){
                count2 = count2 + 1;
    cout << "----result no 5----" << endl;
    cout << "n = " << n6 << ", count = " << count2 << endl;
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If we add another loop, the complexity will be O(n^4). Basically we don't use more complexity than O(n^3) in our program. So remember this.

How the Big O Increase?

Image description

O(1) - There no change in time by increasing input value. whatever the input value the time is same and operation will be same.

O(n) - The number of operations is proportional to N values. the operation and n will be same. so it will take equal time

O(n^2) - The value of n will be the square of the number of operations. the operation numbers are multiply by 2 times.

O(n^3) - This operation numbers are multiply by 3 times of n value. Takes more time to run.

O(n!) - The factorial n will be the highest Time Complexity. You can search it on google or YouTube.

By mistake if you are using four nested loop, that mean's something is wrong and be careful about that program.
Don't try to memorize this algorithm, always practice, do code, mind it and this is good practice.

Click here to see the full code

Wrapping Up

I hope you enjoyed the article, if yes then don't forget to press ❤️ and Subscribe. You can also bookmark it for later use. It was fun to create this article and If you have any queries or suggestions don't hesitate to drop them. See you.
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