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GNU libavl 2.0.1

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5.2.3 Maximum Height

For efficiency, some of the BST routines use a stack of a fixed maximum height. This maximum height affects the maximum number of nodes that can be fully supported by libavl in any given tree, because a binary tree of height n contains at most 2**n - 1 nodes.

The BST_MAX_HEIGHT macro sets the maximum height of a BST. The default value of 32 allows for trees with up to \ASCII\ - 1, 2**32 - 1} = 4,294,967,295 nodes. On today's common 32-bit computers that support only 4 GB of memory at most, this is hardly a limit, because memory would be exhausted long before the tree became too big.

The BST routines that use fixed stacks also detect stack overflow and call a routine to "balance" or restructure the tree in order to reduce its height to the permissible range. The limit on the BST height is therefore not a severe restriction.

 
/* Maximum BST height. */
#ifndef BST_MAX_HEIGHT
#define @cindex BST_MAX_HEIGHT macro
BST_MAX_HEIGHT 32
#endif
This code is included in @refalso{24

Exercises:

1. Suggest a reason why the BST_MAX_HEIGHT macro is defined conditionally. Are there any potential pitfalls? [answer]


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