worst case


Definition: (1) The situation or input that forces an algorithm or data structure to take the most time or resources. (2) Having to do with this situation or input.

See also best case, average case, worst-case cost, amortized cost, complexity, randomized algorithm, worst-case minimum access, adversary.

Note: See the notes on worst-case behavior at Huffman coding and balanced quicksort and the link at BB(α) tree.

Author: PEB

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul E. Black.

Entry modified 2 June 2005.
HTML page formatted Fri Mar 25 16:20:35 2011.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "worst case", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed., U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. 2 June 2005. (accessed TODAY) Available from:

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