(definition)

**Definition:**
The theoretical speed of a given set of operations. It is *O(f(n))* when the execution time of the *worst case* of all sequences of *n* operations never exceeds O(n*f(n)).

**See also**
*potential function*, *best-case cost*, *average-case cost*, *worst-case cost*.

*Note:
The term "amortized worst case" is sometimes used to emphasize that the worst case of a set of operations is averaged.*

Author: CLK

**R. E. Tarjan**, *Amortized computational complexity*, SIAM Journal on Algebraic and Discrete Methods, 6(2):306-318, 1985.

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Entry modified 17 December 2004.

HTML page formatted Mon Feb 2 13:10:39 2015.

Cite this as:

Chris L. Kuszmaul, "amortized cost", in
*Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures* [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY)
Available from: http://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/amortizdcost.html