Advanced Data Structures: Trie, Segment Tree, Fenwick Tree


In competitive programming, having a strong understanding of data structures is crucial to efficiently solve complex problems. While basic data structures like arrays, linked lists, and hash tables are widely used, there are advanced data structures that can provide even more efficient solutions for certain types of problems. In this article, we will explore three advanced data structures: Trie, Segment Tree, and Fenwick Tree, with a focus on their implementation and applications using C++.


A Trie, also known as a prefix tree, is a tree-like data structure that can efficiently store and retrieve strings. It is particularly useful when dealing with problems related to string operations, such as searching, prefix matching, and auto-complete.


A Trie can be implemented using a collection of nodes, where each node represents a character of the string. Each node has multiple child pointers (typically implemented as an array or a hash table) corresponding to the possible next characters in the string. The root of the Trie represents an empty string.

struct TrieNode {
    bool isEndOfWord;
    TrieNode* children[ALPHABET_SIZE];


  • Auto-complete functionality in search engines and text editors.
  • Spell-checking and suggested word suggestions in word processors.
  • Searching for a specific word or pattern in a dictionary.

Segment Tree

A Segment Tree is a dynamic data structure that allows efficient querying and updating of elements in a range. It is commonly used in problems that involve range queries, such as finding the minimum, maximum, or sum of elements within a given range.


A Segment Tree is implemented as a binary tree, where the leaf nodes represent the elements of the given array, and each non-leaf node represents the result of merging its child nodes.

const int MAX_SIZE = 1e5+5;
int segTree[4 * MAX_SIZE];

void buildSegmentTree(int arr[], int start, int end, int treeIndex) {
    if (start == end) {
        segTree[treeIndex] = arr[start];
    int mid = (start + end) / 2;
    buildSegmentTree(arr, start, mid, 2 * treeIndex + 1);
    buildSegmentTree(arr, mid + 1, end, 2 * treeIndex + 2);
    segTree[treeIndex] = merge(segTree[2 * treeIndex + 1], segTree[2 * treeIndex + 2]);


  • Finding the maximum, minimum, or sum of elements in a given range.
  • Range updates and range queries in arrays and matrices.
  • Efficient implementation of dynamic programming algorithms that require querying and updating ranges.

Fenwick Tree

A Fenwick Tree, also known as a Binary Indexed Tree (BIT), is a tree-like data structure that supports efficient range querying and updating in logarithmic time complexity. It is commonly used in problems that involve frequent updates and range queries on a prefix sum.


A Fenwick Tree can be implemented using an array of elements, where each element is responsible for storing the cumulative sum of some earlier elements. The index of each element in the array corresponds to its respective prefix sum.

const int MAX_SIZE = 1e5+5;
int fenwickTree[MAX_SIZE];

void update(int index, int value) {
    while (index < MAX_SIZE) {
        fenwickTree[index] += value;
        index += index & -index;

int query(int index) {
    int sum = 0;
    while (index > 0) {
        sum += fenwickTree[index];
        index -= index & -index;
    return sum;


  • Calculating prefix sums efficiently.
  • Range querying and updating in arrays, such as finding the sum of elements in a given range.
  • Efficient implementation of certain graph algorithms, like Kruskal's algorithm for finding Minimum Spanning Trees.


Understanding and implementing advanced data structures like Trie, Segment Tree, and Fenwick Tree can significantly enhance your problem-solving abilities in competitive programming. They provide efficient solutions for various types of problems and offer a distinct advantage over basic data structures. By incorporating these advanced data structures into your programming arsenal, you'll be well-equipped to tackle complex problems more effectively.

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