Binary search tree with parent is the extension of binary search tree. In binary search tree, the node has two references, left child and right child. Operations normally start from the root node. Add another reference to parent, the operations don’t have to start from root node anymore.

Binary search tree with parent pointer

Table of Content

What is benefit to add a parent pointer in a node of a binary tree?

Normally a binary tree’s operation starts from the root. If you add a parent pointer in a node, The action can start from the current node. It can go up or down the tree. This makes the search more efficient. However adding the parent reference need more work in insertion or deletion.

Map of binary tree implementations

Part 1 – Binary tree implementation
Part 2 – Binary search tree implementation

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Part 3 – Binary search tree with parent pointer

Define classes

As its name says, the TreeNode in binary search tree with parent add one more attribute to the regular binary tree node, parent. So there are four attributes, data, left, right and parent. data is the data stored in this node. left is the reference to the left child. right is the reference to right child. parent is reference to parent node.

After we define TreeNode, we can define BinarySearchTree class. It has one attribute, root. It is the node from where most tree operations start.

Please note, since binary search tree is ordered, in Java, BinarySearchTree’s generic data type extends Comparable interface, so that we can compare data in insert, delete or search operations.





In order to insert a value to a binary search tree, we have to find the right spot. From the root, we compare the input value with each node’s data. If the value is larger than the node’s data, we move to its right child. Otherwise move to its left child, Meanwhile we keep track the previous visited node and save in variable parent.

When we reach the node whose left or right child is null, we can add the new node with the input value as left or right child. Meantime, add a reference to the parent for this new node.





Binary search tree with parent insert

Delete by key

Delete a node in binary search tree with parent is similar to delete a node in binary search tree. First is to find the node with the data matches with the key. Then find its successor. In additional, we have to remember the parent of the deleted node, and point the successor’s parent to the old parent.




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