Binary Search in Python
Published on 19 December 2018 (Updated: 02 May 2020)
In this article, we’ll be talking about Binary Search algorithm implementation in Python.
How to Implement the Solution
Solution
#!/usr/bin/env python
import sys
def binary_search(alist, key_value):
start = 0
end = len(alist)
while start < end:
mid = (start + end) // 2
if alist[mid] > key_value:
end = mid
elif alist[mid] < key_value:
start = mid + 1
else:
return mid
return 1
def input_list(array_of_numbers):
array_of_numbers = array_of_numbers.split(",")
array_of_numbers = [int(x) for x in array_of_numbers]
return array_of_numbers
def exit_with_error():
print('Usage: please provide a list of at least two integers to sort in the format “1, 2, 3, 4, 5”')
sys.exit(1)
if __name__ == "__main__":
try:
array_of_numbers = sys.argv[1]
value_to_be_found = int(sys.argv[2])
array_of_numbers = input_list(array_of_numbers)
if array_of_numbers != sorted(array_of_numbers) or len(array_of_numbers) < 1:
exit_with_error()
index = binary_search(array_of_numbers, value_to_be_found)
if index < 0:
print(False)
else:
print(True)
except IndexError:
exit_with_error()
except ValueError:
exit_with_error()
The Main Function
Breaking down this solution from bottom to top,
if __name__ == "__main__":
try:
array_of_numbers = sys.argv[1]
value_to_be_found = int(sys.argv[2])
array_of_numbers = input_list(array_of_numbers)
if array_of_numbers != sorted(array_of_numbers) or len(array_of_numbers) < 1:
exit_with_error()
index = binary_search(array_of_numbers, value_to_be_found)
if index < 0:
print(False)
else:
print(True)
except IndexError:
exit_with_error()
except ValueError:
exit_with_error()
This bit of code checks to see if this is the main module run. If it is then it starts exectuing the code
function and passes user input to main program. In this case the user inputs are two strings
for example they are like as follows"1, 4, 5, 11, 12"
"11"
.
def binary_search(alist, key_value):
start = 0
end = len(alist)
while start < end:
mid = (start + end)//2
if alist[mid] > key_value:
end = mid
elif alist[mid] < key_value:
start = mid + 1
else:
return mid
return 1
This is the main function of this file. It parses the input, then calls our binary search function (and returns mid(Index of our key_value) or 1(If key_value is not avaliable)).
Transform Input Parameters
def input_list(array_of_numbers):
array_of_numbers = array_of_numbers.split(",")
array_of_numbers = [int(x) for x in array_of_numbers]
return array_of_numbers
This function takes a string like "1, 4, 5, 11, 12"
, and turns into a list of numbers.
It does this using a list comprehension, first we need to convert our string into a
list list_str.split(',')
which is a list of strings split by comma (,). So our
original input string becomes ["1", " 4", " 5", " 11", " 12"]
.
Then for each element in the list for x in ...
, we do something to it.
converts the string " 4"
into a decimal number in this case 4
(it removes the “ “(space) too). This is done
for every item in the list so our original input "1, 4, 5, 11, 12"
becomes [1, 4, 5, 11, 12]
.
Throws Error
def exit_with_error():
print('Usage: please provide a list of at least two integers to sort in the format “1, 2, 3, 4, 5”')
sys.exit(1)
This function prints a message and then exits the script with an error, sys.exit(1)
.
if any nonzero value is returned after execution of program then the program didn’t complete properly.
The above function(exit_with_error()) is called everytime whenever the user input isn’t correct.
Binary Search
def binary_search(alist, key_value):
start = 0
end = len(alist)
while start < end:
mid = (start + end) // 2
if alist[mid] > key_value:
end = mid
elif alist[mid] < key_value:
start = mid + 1
else:
return mid
return 1
This function takes an sorted integer list and a value and returns true(if the value is in integer list) or false(if the value isn;t in integer list), using the binary search algorithm.
For example, if [1, 4, 5, 11, 12]
is the input:

First we take start = 0 end = len(alist)

while start less than end we keep on iterating loop

first we take middle value of array with the expression (mid = (start + end) // 2)

Then we compare the middle value that we got(mid) with key_value

If the middle value(mid) is greater than than key_value then we take end as middle value(mid) and continue searching.

If the middle value(mid) is less than than key_value then we take end as middle value + 1(mid + 1) and continue searching.

If key_value is neither great nor less than that of the middle value then it means that the value that we are searching is at mid. So we return the index of the key_value(If value in the given list) or 1 (If value is not in the given list of integers).
How to Run Solution
If we want to run this program, we should probably download a copy of Binary Search in Python After that, we should make sure we have the latest Python interpreter. From there, we can run the following command in the terminal:
python binary_search.py "1, 4, 5, 11, 12" "11"
Alternatively, we can copy the solution into an online Python interpreter and hit run then u need to modify sys.argv[i] to your inputs.
Further Reading
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