Efficiency or Complexity is how well you’re using your resources to get your code run.
Efficiency can be calculated on the basis of how much time your code takes to run/execute.
Understanding the efficiency of your code can help to reduce the complexity, thus improving the runtime efficiency further. Getting the same job done in less time and less system resources is always good.
Once you find the efficiency of your program, you can start to find ways for:
- Reducing the complexity (or increase the efficiency) which will reduce the program run time, and hence free the computer resources in a proportional rate.
- Try to maintain a constant or reduced run time for a growing data set, which will help your program to fare well when the input size grows.
In Computer Science, the `Big O` notation is used to indicate the effieciency or complexity of a program. It is denoted by ‘O(n)’, where ‘n’ is a mathematical function to denote the input. This is
O(O(n) + 1) or O(1)
Efficiency can be measures on the best, average, and worst cases. For example, consider finding a specific alphabet from a list of all the alphabets jumbled up.
- The worst case is your program running through all 26 iterations and finding the alphabet as the last value.
- The best case is when your program finds it in the first iteration itself.
- The average is when your program finds the alphabet somewhere around 12-15 iterations (ie.. half of the worst case scenario).
Study of Data structures and Algorithms aim to study program complexities, and to reduce it as much as possible.
Algorithms are a series of well-defined steps you follow to solve a problem, whereas Data Structures are specific structures by which how you layout your data. Application of well-known algorithms in a program can help in reducing the run time.
More on Time complexity and the Big O notation can be read at: