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Homework Help: Binary search tree, number of nodes formula

  1. Sep 19, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Typical binary search tree has a number of nodes equal to 2^(n+1) - 1.
    I don't understand why we add 1 to the n?
    For example: a tree has a height 4.
    # #
    # # # #
    # # # # # # # #
    each level has 2^i nodes; i = 0, 2^0 = 1 for the first row, etc.
    If the height is 4 then total amount of nodes is 15, which is 2^4 - 1,
    and not 2^(4+1) - 1.

    I would be grateful for your help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2015 #2

    Ray Vickson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The formula works perfectly well if you regard the depth as n=3, rather than n=4. Four is the number of nodes in a path from root to tip, but three is the number of "steps". It is the same as saying that your first year of life has two endpoints, t = 0 and t = 1, but it is still just one year.
  4. Sep 20, 2015 #3
    I see now. Thank you!
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