Programming Assignment 5 Checklist: Kd-Trees

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a point on the boundary of a rectangle considered inside it? Do two rectangle intersect if they have just one point in common? Yes, and yes.

Can I use the distanceTo() method in Point2D and RectHV? No, you may use only the subset of the methods listed. You should be able to accomplish the same result by using distanceSquaredTo() instead of distanceTo().

What should I do if a point has the same x-coordinate as the point in a node when inserting / searching in a 2d-tree? Go to the right subtree as specified.

Can I assume that all x- or y-coordinates of points inserted into the KdTree will be between 0 and 1? Yes. You may also assume that the insert(), contains(), and nearest() methods in KdTree are passed points with x- and y-coordinates between 0 and 1. Finally, you may assume that the range() method in KdTree is passed a rectangle that lies in the unit box.

What should I do if a point is inserted twice in the data structure? The data structure represents a set of points, so you should keep only one copy.

How should I scale the coordinate system when drawing? Don't, please keep the default range of 0 to 1.

How should I set the size and color of the points and rectangles when drawing? Use StdDraw.setPenColor(StdDraw.BLACK) and StdDraw.setPenRadius(.01) before drawing the points; use StdDraw.setPenColor(StdDraw.RED) or StdDraw.setPenColor(StdDraw.BLUE) and StdDraw.setPenRadius() before drawing the splitting lines.

What should range() return if there are no points in the range? It should return an Iterable<Point2D> object with zero points.

How much memory does a Point2D object use? For simplicity, assume that each Point2D object uses 32 bytes—in reality, it uses a bit more because of the Comparator instance variables.

How much memory does a RectHV object use? You should look at the code and analyze its memory usage.

I run out of memory when running some of the large sample files. What should I do? Be sure to ask Java for additional memory, e.g., java -Xmx1600m RangeSearchVisualizer input1M.txt.


Testing. A good way to test KdTree is to perform the same sequence of operations on both the PointSET and KdTree data types and identify any discrepancies. The sample clients and take this approach.

Sample input files.   The directory kdtree contains some sample input files in the specified format.

The result of calling draw() on the points in circle10.txt should look like the following:

If nearest() is called with p = (.81, .30) the number of nodes visited in order to find that F is nearest is 5.

Starting with circle10k.txt if nearest is called with p = (.81, .30) the number of nodes visited in order to find that K is nearest is 6.

Possible Progress Steps

These are purely suggestions for how you might make progress. You do not have to follow these steps.

  1. Node data type. There are several reasonable ways to represent a node in a 2d-tree. One approach is to include the point, a link to the left/bottom subtree, a link to the right/top subtree, and an axis-aligned rectangle corresponding to the node.
    private static class Node {
       private Point2D p;      // the point
       private RectHV rect;    // the axis-aligned rectangle corresponding to this node
       private Node lb;        // the left/bottom subtree
       private Node rt;        // the right/top subtree
    Unlike the Node class for BST, this Node class is static because it does not refer to a generic Key or Value type that depends on the object associated with the outer class. This saves the 8-byte inner class object overhead. Also, since we don't need to implement the rank and select operations, there is no need to store the subtree size.

  2. Writing KdTree. Start by writing isEmpty() and size(). These should be very easy. From there, write a simplified version of insert() which does everything except set up the RectHV for each node. Write the contains() method, and use this to test that insert() was implemented properly. Note that insert() and contains() are best implemented by using private helper methods analogous to those found on page 399 of the book or by looking at We recommend using orientation as an argument to these helper methods.

    Now add the code to insert() which sets up the RectHV for each Node. Next, write draw(), and use this to test these rectangles. Finish up KdTree with the nearest and range methods. Finally, test your implementation using our interactive client programs as well as any other tests you'd like to conduct.


These are many ways to improve performance of your 2d-tree. Here are some ideas.