Big O Notation

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Short article from explaining Big O. Big O notation is the language we use for talking about how long an algorithm takes to run. It’s how we compare the efficiency of different approaches to a problem.

You should make a habit of thinking about the time and space complexity of algorithms as you design them. Before long this’ll become second nature, allowing you to see optimizations and potential performance issues right away.

It’s like math except it’s an awesome, not-boring kind of math where you get to wave your hands through the details and just focus on what’s basically happening.

With big O notation we express the runtime in terms of — brace yourself — how quickly it grows relative to the input, as the input gets arbitrarily large.

  • How quickly the runtime grows
  • Relative to the input
  • As the input gets arbitrarily large

Some code examples helping with explanation. Short but sweet.

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