Data Structures and Algorithms

# What is Huffman Coding Algorithm?

Huffman coding algorithm is a lossless data compression algorithm that works by assigning variable-length codes to characters in a message. The codes are assigned in such a way that the most frequently occurring characters in the message are assigned the shortest codes, and the least frequently occurring characters are assigned the longest codes.

The algorithm works by building a binary tree called the Huffman tree based on the frequency of occurrence of each character in the message. The characters with the lowest frequency of occurrence are assigned to the leaves of the tree, and the characters with the highest frequency of occurrence are assigned to the nodes closest to the root of the tree.

To encode a message using Huffman coding, the algorithm traverses the Huffman tree, starting from the root, and assigns a 0 or 1 bit to each edge of the tree. The resulting bit sequence for each character in the message is its Huffman code.

The time complexity of the Huffman coding algorithm is O(n log n), where n is the number of distinct characters in the message. The Huffman coding algorithm is widely used in data compression and is especially effective for compressing messages that contain a small number of distinct characters with highly variable frequencies of occurrence.

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