Data Structures and Algorithms is the study of various ways of organising data in a computer
Programming is the process of taking an algorithm and encoding it into a notation, a programming language, so that it can be executed by a computer. Although many programming languages and many different types of computers exist, the important first step is the need to have the solution. Without an algorithm there can be no program.
Computer scientists learn by experience. We learn by seeing others solve problems and by solving problems by ourselves. Being exposed to different problem-solving techniques and seeing how different algorithms are designed helps us to take on the next challenging problem that we are given. By considering a number of different algorithms, we can begin to develop pattern recognition so that the next time a similar problem arises, we are better able to solve it.
Building data structures and algorithms requires that we communicate detailed instructions to a computer. An excellent way to perform such communication is using a high-level computer language, such as Java. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the Java programming language, and we continue this discussion in the next chapter, focusing on object-oriented design principles.