AVL Tree is invented by GM Adelson - Velsky and EM Landis in 1962. The tree is named AVL in honour of its inventors.
AVL Tree can be defined as height balanced binary search tree in which each node is associated with a balance factor which is calculated by subtracting the height of its right sub-tree from that of its left sub-tree.
Tree is said to be balanced if balance factor of each node is in between -1 to 1, otherwise, the tree will be unbalanced and need to be balanced.
Balance Factor (k) = height (left(k)) - height (right(k))
If balance factor of any node is 1, it means that the left sub-tree is one level higher than the right sub-tree.
If balance factor of any node is 0, it means that the left sub-tree and right sub-tree contain equal height.
If balance factor of any node is -1, it means that the left sub-tree is one level lower than the right sub-tree.
An AVL tree is given in the following figure. We can see that, balance factor associated with each node is in between -1 and +1. therefore, it is an example of AVL tree.
Operations on AVL tree
Due to the fact that, AVL tree is also a binary search tree therefore, all the operations are performed in the same way as they are performed in a binary search tree. Searching and traversing do not lead to the violation in property of AVL tree. However, insertion and deletion are the operations which can violate this property and therefore, they need to be revisited.
Why AVL Tree ?
AVL tree controls the height of the binary search tree by not letting it to be skewed. The time taken for all operations in a binary search tree of height h is O(h). However, it can be extended to O(n) if the BST becomes skewed (i.e. worst case). By limiting this height to log n, AVL tree imposes an upper bound on each operation to be O(log n) where n is the number of nodes.