Interview Question

Intern Interview

Find maximum depth of a tree.


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1 Answer


Suppose you have a tree with a Node class that has 2 pointers of type node, one left and the other right. Suppose further we have variable root of type Node * that points to the Node at the top of the tree. Let all invalid left/right pointers equal nullptr (or 0). The following is the answer:

unsigned depth(Node *parent)
    if(parent == nullptr)
        return 0;

    return max(depth(parent->left), depth(parent->right)) + 1;

1.) max is from #include<algorithm>.
2.) Test a node of height zero (starting call with nullptr). It equals zero as intended.
3.) Test a tree with a single node: max(0,0) + 1 = 1 as intended.
4.) It seems to work for any other size as long as there is no stack overflow.
5.) If the tree is not binary, simply replace the second return statement with a for loop to loop through all children, keeping track of the maximum depth returned by all of them. Then, add one to that.

bigballscode on Oct 7, 2013

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