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By Ashraf_A11, history, 2 months ago, In English

Exploring Powerful STL Functions for Competitive Programming


In the realm of competitive programming, efficiency is paramount. Writing optimized, clean, and concise code can make all the difference in tackling complex algorithmic problems. One invaluable tool in a coder's arsenal is the Standard Template Library (STL) in C++.

In this blog post, I'll walk with you through a series of powerful STL functions that can significantly enhance your coding experience and efficiency on platforms like Codeforces.

before anything, this repo link has the functions and the code examples and implementations for them. Repo

Batch Operations:

The ability to perform batch operations on containers is a game-changer. Functions like for_each and for_each_n allow you to apply a specific operation to multiple elements in a container, streamlining your code and making it more readable.

Search Operations:

Efficient searching algorithms are essential in competitive programming. STL provides a plethora of search functions like all_of, any_of, find, and find_if that enable you to quickly locate elements or patterns within a container.

Copy and Move Operations:

Copying and moving elements between containers is a common task in coding competitions. STL offers functions like copy, copy_if, move, and move_backward to efficiently handle such operations, saving you precious time during contests.

Swap Operations:

Swapping elements is often required while implementing algorithms. With STL's swap, swap_ranges, and iter_swap, you can effortlessly exchange elements within containers or even between different containers.

Transformation Operations:

Transforming elements based on specific criteria is a frequent requirement in competitive programming. STL's transform, replace, and replace_if functions make such transformations intuitive and straightforward.

Removing Operations:

Removing elements from containers while preserving the order is crucial. STL provides functions like remove, remove_if, and unique to eliminate elements efficiently without compromising on performance.

Order Changing Operations:

Changing the order of elements in a container can sometimes be necessary. With STL's reverse and rotate functions, you can easily rearrange elements according to your requirements.

Sorting Operations:

Sorting is a fundamental operation in competitive programming. STL's sort, is_sorted, and is_sorted_until functions offer robust sorting algorithms that ensure optimal performance.

Binary Search Operations:

Binary search is a staple technique in competitive programming. STL simplifies binary search with functions like binary_search, lower_bound, upper_bound, and equal_range, making it easier to find elements in sorted containers.

Set Operations:

Set operations like union, intersection, and inclusion are frequently used in competitive programming. STL's includes, set_union, and set_intersection functions provide efficient implementations for such operations.

Min-Max Operations:

Finding minimum and maximum elements or values is a common task. STL offers functions like min, max, min_element, max_element, minmax, and minmax_element to handle such operations with ease.

Permutation Operations:

Permuting elements and checking for permutations are essential in various algorithms. STL's next_permutation, prev_permutation, and is_permutation functions offer convenient solutions for these tasks.

Numeric Operations:

Performing arithmetic and accumulation operations on numeric containers is straightforward with STL's accumulate and partial_sum functions.

Arithmetic, Comparison, Logical, and bitwise Operations:

STL provides a wide range of functions for arithmetic, comparison, and logical operations, including arithmetic operations like plus, minus, and multiplies, comparison operations like equal_to, not_equal_to, and less, and logical operations like logical_and, logical_or, and logical_not, bitwise Operations like bit_and, bit_or, bit_xor, and bit_not.

Traversing Containers in Functions: Regular and Reverse

When calling functions that need to traverse containers, you can pass iterators for your needs. This approach allows you to traverse the container either in the usual order or in reverse, depending on the iterators you pass.

Regular Traversal...

For regular traversal, you can pass begin() and end() iterators to your function:

auto it = find_if(nums.begin(), nums.end(), [](int num) { //  find the first odd number
        return num & 1;
    if(it != nums.end())
        cout << "First odd number: " << *it << '\n';
        cout << "No odd number found\n";

Reverse Traversal...

For reverse traversal, you can pass rbegin() and rend() iterators to your function:

auto it = find_if(nums.rbegin(), nums.rend(), [](int num) { //  find the last odd number
        return num & 1;
    if(it != nums.rend()) // rend() here not end()
        cout << "Last odd number: " << *it << '\n';
        cout << "No odd number found\n";


Mastering STL functions can significantly boost your productivity and performance in competitive programming. By leveraging these powerful tools, you can write cleaner, more efficient, and more maintainable code, giving you a competitive edge in coding contests. So, go ahead, explore the vast array of STL functions, and elevate your coding skills to new heights!

Happy coding!

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