Binary Search in Python

Published on 19 December 2018 (Updated: 27 October 2019)

Binary Search in Python

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 non-zero 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.

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:

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.