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# davearonson's solution

## to Binary Search in the Elixir Track

Published at Jul 13 2018 · 0 comments
Instructions
Test suite
Solution

#### Note:

This solution was written on an old version of Exercism. The tests below might not correspond to the solution code, and the exercise may have changed since this code was written.

Implement a binary search algorithm.

Searching a sorted collection is a common task. A dictionary is a sorted list of word definitions. Given a word, one can find its definition. A telephone book is a sorted list of people's names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Knowing someone's name allows one to quickly find their telephone number and address.

If the list to be searched contains more than a few items (a dozen, say) a binary search will require far fewer comparisons than a linear search, but it imposes the requirement that the list be sorted.

In computer science, a binary search or half-interval search algorithm finds the position of a specified input value (the search "key") within an array sorted by key value.

In each step, the algorithm compares the search key value with the key value of the middle element of the array.

If the keys match, then a matching element has been found and its index, or position, is returned.

Otherwise, if the search key is less than the middle element's key, then the algorithm repeats its action on the sub-array to the left of the middle element or, if the search key is greater, on the sub-array to the right.

If the remaining array to be searched is empty, then the key cannot be found in the array and a special "not found" indication is returned.

A binary search halves the number of items to check with each iteration, so locating an item (or determining its absence) takes logarithmic time. A binary search is a dichotomic divide and conquer search algorithm.

## Running tests

Execute the tests with:

``````\$ elixir binary_search_test.exs
``````

### Pending tests

In the test suites, all but the first test have been skipped.

Once you get a test passing, you can unskip the next one by commenting out the relevant `@tag :pending` with a `#` symbol.

For example:

``````# @tag :pending
test "shouting" do
assert Bob.hey("WATCH OUT!") == "Whoa, chill out!"
end
``````

Or, you can enable all the tests by commenting out the `ExUnit.configure` line in the test suite.

``````# ExUnit.configure exclude: :pending, trace: true
``````

For more detailed information about the Elixir track, please see the help page.

## Submitting Incomplete Solutions

It's possible to submit an incomplete solution so you can see how others have completed the exercise.

### binary_search_test.exs

``````if !System.get_env("EXERCISM_TEST_EXAMPLES") do
end

ExUnit.start()
ExUnit.configure(exclude: :pending, trace: true)

defmodule BinarySearchTest do
use ExUnit.Case

test "returns :not_found on empty tuple" do
assert BinarySearch.search({}, 2) == :not_found
end

@tag :pending
test "returns :not_found when key is not in the tuple" do
assert BinarySearch.search({2, 4, 6}, 3) == :not_found
end

@tag :pending
test "returns :not_found when key is too high" do
assert BinarySearch.search({2, 4, 6}, 9) == :not_found
end

@tag :pending
test "finds key in a tuple with a single item" do
assert BinarySearch.search({3}, 3) == {:ok, 0}
end

@tag :pending
test "finds key when it is the first element in tuple" do
assert BinarySearch.search({1, 2, 4, 5, 6}, 1) == {:ok, 0}
end

@tag :pending
test "finds key when it is in the middle of the tuple" do
assert BinarySearch.search({1, 2, 4, 5, 6}, 4) == {:ok, 2}
end

@tag :pending
test "finds key when it is the last element in tuple" do
assert BinarySearch.search({1, 2, 4, 5, 6}, 6) == {:ok, 4}
end

@tag :pending
test "finds key in a tuple with an even number of elements" do
tuple = {1, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377}
assert BinarySearch.search(tuple, 21) == {:ok, 5}
assert BinarySearch.search(tuple, 34) == {:ok, 6}
end
end``````
``````defmodule BinarySearch do
@doc """
Searches for a key in the list using the binary search algorithm.
It returns :not_found if the key is not in the list.
Otherwise returns the tuple {:ok, index}.

## Examples

iex> BinarySearch.search([], 2)
:not_found

iex> BinarySearch.search([1, 3, 5], 2)
:not_found

iex> BinarySearch.search([1, 3, 5], 5)
{:ok, 2}

"""

@spec search(Enumerable.t, integer) :: {:ok, integer} | :not_found
def search(list, key) do
if Enum.sort(list) != list do
raise ArgumentError, "expected list to be sorted"
end
tuple = List.to_tuple(list)
do_search(tuple, key, 0, tuple_size(tuple) - 1)
end

defp do_search(_, _, min, max) when min > max, do: :not_found

defp do_search(tuple, key, min, max) do
idx = round((min + max) / 2)
found = elem(tuple, idx)
cond do
found == key -> {:ok, idx}
found < key  -> do_search(tuple, key, idx + 1, max)
found > key  -> do_search(tuple, key, min,     idx - 1)
end
end

end``````