This homework is meant to help you gain familiarity with how insertion (and balancing) of a left leaning red black tree works. The introduction video is here.
Navigation
A. LLRB Trees
This entire homework will be implemented in RedBlackTree.java
. You will not be implementing any 23 or 24 Tree code for this homework, but may find it useful to reference BTree.java
to understand the interface.
In lecture, we discussed 24 trees (also known as 234 trees). These are a variant of BTrees that can have between 1 and 3 items per node, and thus may have 2, 3 or 4 children to a given node (hence the name). These 24 trees are synonymous with general red black trees.
We also talked about 23 trees, which are a variant of BTrees that can have 1 or 2 items per node, and thus may have 2 or 3 children to a given node. In lecture, we discussed how 23 trees correspond to left leaning red black trees. Throughout this coding assignment, we will focus on LLRBs and 23 trees. Note that the OPTIONAL portion of this assignment will build a regular red black tree that corresponds to a 234 tree, but it will be completed in the same file as the LLRB parts for convenience.
23 trees are Btrees, just like 24 trees. However, each node in a 23 tree can have up to 2 elements and 3 children, whereas 24 trees could have one more of each (so 3 elements and 4 children). We can come up with a fairly natural RedBlack tree counterpart. However, since we can only have nodes with 1 or 2 elements, we can either have a single black node (for a oneelement 23 node) or a "section" with a black node and a red node (for a twoelement 23 node). In theory, we can let the red node be either a left child or a right child, so long as we are consistent. However, we choose to always let the red node be the left child of the black node. This leads to the name, "LeftLeaning" RedBlack tree.
Imagine we have the 23 BTree:
[5 9]
/  \
[a] [b] [c]
The corresponding Left Leaning Red Black Tree would look like this:
9 (black)
/ \
5 (red) c
/ \
a b
The advantages of the LLRB tree over the usual RedBlack tree is the ease of implementation. Since there are fewer special cases for each "section" that represents a 23 node, the implementation is much simpler.
Normal binary search tree insertions and deletions can break the RedBlack tree invariants, so we need additional operations that can "restore" the RedBlack tree properties. In LLRB trees, there are two key operations that we use to restore the properties: rotations and color flips.
To play around with LLRB trees and view insertions and deletions, check out this website!
B. Rotations and Color Flips
You can find a short conceptual introduction to rotations here . Consider the following tree
parent

7
/ \
1 c
/ \
a b
a
is a subtree with all elements less than 1, b
is a subtree with
elements between 1 and 7, and c
is a subtree with all elements
greater than 7. Now, let's take a look at another tree:
parent

1
/ \
a 7
/ \
b c
There are a few key things to notice:
 The root of the tree has changed from 7 to 1.
a
,b
, andc
are still correctly placed. That is, their items do not violate the binary search tree invariants. The height of the tree can change by 1.
Here, we call this transition from the first tree to the second a "right rotation on 7".
Now, convince yourself that a "left rotation on 1" on the second tree will give us the first tree. The two operations are symmetric, and both maintain the binary search tree property!
Discussion: Rotation by Hand
We are given an extremely unbalanced binary search tree:
0
\
1
\
3
/ \
2 6
/ \
4 8
Write down a series of rotations (e.g. rotate right on 2) that will make the tree balanced and have a height of 2. HINT: Two rotations are sufficient. Highlight the text after this to see the answer. Answer: Rotate left on 0 and then rotate left on 1. The height is now two and the tree is bushy. Make sure to draw it!
Exercise: Rotation Implementation
Now we have seen that we can rotate the tree to balance it without
violating the binary search tree invariants. Now, we will implement it
ourselves! In RedBlackTree.java
, implement rotateRight
and
rotateLeft
. For your implementation, make the new root have the
color of the old root, and color the old root red. Why should we have
the colors change here and what might happen if we did not change the
colors?
Hint: The two operations are symmetric. Should the code significantly differ?
Color Flip
Now we consider the color flip operation that is essential to LLRB tree implementation. Given a node, this operation simply flips the color of itself, and the left and right children. However simple it may look now, we will examine its consequences later on.
For now, take a look at the implementation provided in RedBlackTree.java
.
C. Insertion
Finally, we are ready to put the puzzle pieces together and see how insertion works on LLRB trees!
Say we are inserting x
.
 If the tree is empty, let
x
be the root with black color.  Otherwise do the normal binary search tree insertion, and color
x
red.  Restore LLRB properties.
Restoring LLRB Properties after Insertion.
First, let's assume that our new node x
is the only child of a black
node. That is:
parent (black)
/
x (red)
or
parent (black)
\
x (red)
Since we decided to make our tree left leaning, we know that the first
tree is the valid form and we will not have to do anything else. If we
end up with the second tree (x
> parent
) we can simply apply
rotateLeft
on parent
to get the first tree.
Now, let's consider the case when our new node x
becomes a child to
a black node which already has a left child, or a child to a red node.
LLRB have a onetoone mapping to 23 trees. This is like inserting
x
into a 23 tree node that already has 3 children!
Here, we have to deal with 3 different cases, and we will label them case A, B, C.
Case A: x
ends up as the right child of the black node.

5 (black)
/ \
(red) 1 x (red)
For case A, the resulting section is the same as a 23 tree node with one extra element:

[1 5 x]
To fix it, we "split" the 23 node into two halves, "pushing" up the middle element to its parent:

[5 (sibling)]
/  \
1 x (nephews)
Analogously, for our LLRB section, we can apply flipColor
on 5
.
This results in:

5 (red)
/ \
(black) 1 x (black)
This exactly models the 23 node we desired. 5 is now a red node,
which means that it is now part of the "parent 23 node section". Now,
if 5 as a new red node becomes a problem, we can recursively deal
with it as we are dealing with x
now. Also, the root of the whole
tree should always be black, and it is perfectly fine for the root
to have two black children. It is simply a root 23 node with single
element and two children, each with single element.
Case B: x
ends up as the left child of the red node.

5 (black)
/
1 (red)
/
x (red)
In this case, we can apply rotateRight
on 5
, which will result in:

1 (black)
/ \
(red) x 5 (red)
This should look familiar, since it is exactly case A that we just examined before! After a rotation, our problem reduces to solving case A. Convince yourself that rotation performed here correctly handles the color changes and maintains the binary search tree properties.
Case C: x
ends up as the right child of the red node.

5 (black)
/
1 (red)
\
x (red)
In this case, we can apply rotateLeft
on 1
, which will result in:

5 (black)
/
x (red)
/
1 (red)
This also should look familiar, since it is exactly case B that we just examined. We just need one more rotation and color flip to restore LLRB properties.
Exercise:
Now, we will implement insert
in RedBlackTree.java
. We have
provided you with most of the logic structure, so all you need to do
is deal with normal binary search tree insertion and handle case A, B,
and C.
Discussion.
We have seen that even though the LLRB tree guarantees that the tree
will be almost balanced, LLRB insert operation requires many rotations
and color flips. Examine the procedure for the insertion and convince
yourself that the insert operation still takes
O(log(n))
as in balanced binary search trees.
Hint: How long is the path from root to the new leaf? For each node along the path, are additional operations limited to some constant number? What does that mean?
Deletion
Deletion deals with many more corner cases and is generally more difficult to implement. For difficulty's sake, deletion is left out of this assignment. You are not expected to complete deletion.
D. Building a Red Black Tree [OPTIONAL]
The following section is entirely optional, but will help your understanding!
To bring every method above together, you will be implementing buildRedBlackTree(BTree.Node<T> r)
that builds a Red Black tree that has isometry with given 234 tree rooted at given node r, and returns the root node. You will have to instantiate the root and build the entire Red Black Tree, using the values provided in the given BTree.
It may be useful to read the provided BTree.java
, as stated in part A.
Things to think about:
 What special cases are there? How many elements do they have?
 What does an empty BTree look like?
 With a filled BTree, what node items are we going to create and what recursive calls are we going to make?
E. Submission
You will be required to submit:
rotateLeft
androtateRight
insert
Your score out of 2 will be proportional to the percentage of tests your code passes, rounded to the nearest multiple of .25. Note that the tests provided aren't 100% comprehensive! Can you come up with a testing scenario that tests case C?
Don't forget to push both your commits and tags for your final submission. As a reminder, you can push your tags by running:
$ git push tags