What are some differences between heapify up and heapify down?


#1

Question

In the context of this exercise, what are some important differences between heapify up and heapify down?

Answer

Heapify up and heapify down share some similarities in their implementations and concepts, but they have some important differences.

Heapify up is used when we insert a new element to a heap. When inserting a new element, we add it at the bottom of the heap tree, and move up the tree while comparing to the current parent element and swapping if needed. Because we move up for heapify up, we only make one comparison per iteration, between the current element and its parent element.

Heapify down is used when we remove the top element from a heap. Removal of an element is done by swapping the top element with the last element at the bottom of the tree, removing the last element, and then heapfying the new top element down to maintain the heap property. Because this moves down the heap tree, it must perform two comparisons per iteration, with the left child and the right child elements, then swap with the smaller one. Because of this, heapify down is usually more complex to implement than heapify up.