1. Mapping a binary tree into a list

public BinNode treeList(BinNode root) {
   if (root == null) return null;
   BinNode left = treeList(root.left);
   BinNode right = treeList(root.right);
   root.left = root;
   root.right = root;
   left = splice (left, root);
   left = splice (left, right);
   return left;

BinNode splice (BinNode list1, BinNode list2) {
   if (list1 == null) return list2;
   if (list2 == null) return list1;
   join(list1.left, list2);
   join(list2.left, list1);
   return list1;

void join(BinNode prev, BinNode next) {
   prev.right = next;
   next.left = prev;

2. Finding the longest path in a binary tree

Use breadth-first search to find the last node visited – this shall necessarily be one of the longest paths. Maintain pointers in each node to the node’s parent. Use the last node to recursively find all of its ancestors. This

public Queue getAncestors(BinNode child) {
   if (child == null) return null;
   BinNode current = child;
   Queue queue = new LinkedList();
   while (current != null) {
     current = current.parent;
   return queue;

 // Returns one of the leaf nodes in the tree, in the
 // order found using breadth-first search
 public BinNode getLeafNode (BinNode root) {
   if (root == null) return null;
   Queue queue = new LinkedList();
   BinNode last = null; while(!queue.isEmpty()) {
     BinNode current = (BinNode) queue.remove();
     BinNode child = null;
     while( (child = getUnvisitedChild (current)) != null ) {
       child.visited = true;
     last = current;
   return last;

 // Returns the unvisited (i.e. visited=false) child of given node,
 // and null otherwise
 BinNode getUnvisitedChild (BinNode parent) {
   if (parent == null)
   return null;
   if (parent.left != null && !parent.left.visited)
   return parent.left;
   if (parent.right != null && !parent.right.visited)
   return parent.right;
   return null;

 // Clears the visited attribute of all nodes, starting
 // from the root
 void clearVisited(BinNode root) {
   if (root == null) return;
   root.visited = false;

3. Find the least common ancestor for two given nodes in a tree.

Search for one of the nodes and mark each node in along path as visited: takes O(log N) time. Search for the other nodes and keep track of the last visited node seen. net O(log N) time. Pre-processing the tree can be used by off-line algorithms to yield result constant times.


[1] Some simple binary tree problems.