I implemented the FixedSizePriorityQueue class. The intended purpose is that, you can add as many elements as you want, but it will store only the greatest maxSize elements.

I would like any suggestions on how to improve this data structure implementation. Any comments on how to make the surrounding code better is highly appreciated.

package com.muratdozen.playground.spotify;

import com.muratdozen.playground.util.io.FastReader;
import com.muratdozen.playground.util.threading.NonThreadSafe;

import java.io.PrintWriter;
import java.util.*;

 * Spotify Challenge, Zipfs Song
 * @author Murat Derya Ozen
 * @since: 9/27/13 9:50 PM
 * @see <a href="https://www.spotify.com/us/jobs/tech/zipfsong/">
 *      https://www.spotify.com/us/jobs/tech/zipfsong/</a>
public class ZipfsSong {

     * FixedSizePriorityQueue is a priority queue implementation with a fixed size based on a {@link PriorityQueue}.
     * The number of elements in the queue will be at most {@code maxSize}.
     * Once the number of elements in the queue reaches {@code maxSize}, trying to add a new element
     * will remove the lowest element in the queue if the new element is greater than or equal to
     * the current lowest element. The queue will not be modified otherwise.
    public static class FixedSizePriorityQueue<E> {
        private final PriorityQueue<E> priorityQueue; /* backing data structure */
        private final Comparator<? super E> comparator;
        private final int maxSize;

         * Constructs a {@link FixedSizePriorityQueue} with the specified {@code maxSize}
         * and {@code comparator}.
         * @param maxSize    - The maximum size the queue can reach, must be a positive integer.
         * @param comparator - The comparator to be used to compare the elements in the queue, must be non-null.
        public FixedSizePriorityQueue(final int maxSize, final Comparator<? super E> comparator) {
            if (maxSize <= 0) {
                throw new IllegalArgumentException("maxSize = " + maxSize + "; expected a positive integer.");
            if (comparator == null) {
                throw new NullPointerException("Comparator is null.");
            this.priorityQueue = new PriorityQueue<E>(maxSize, comparator);
            this.comparator = priorityQueue.comparator();
            this.maxSize = maxSize;

         * Adds an element to the queue. If the queue contains {@code maxSize} elements, {@code e} will
         * be compared to the lowest element in the queue using {@code comparator}.
         * If {@code e} is greater than or equal to the lowest element, that element will be removed and
         * {@code e} will be added instead. Otherwise, the queue will not be modified
         * and {@code e} will not be added.
         * @param e - Element to be added, must be non-null.
        public void add(final E e) {
            if (e == null) {
                throw new NullPointerException("e is null.");
            if (maxSize <= priorityQueue.size()) {
                final E firstElm = priorityQueue.peek();
                if (comparator.compare(e, firstElm) < 1) {
                } else {

         * To be not used. Not an efficient operation.
         * @return Returns a sorted view of the queue as a {@link Collections#unmodifiableList(java.util.List)}
         *         unmodifiableList.
        public List<E> asList() {
            return Collections.unmodifiableList(new ArrayList<E>(priorityQueue));

     * Represents a Song where all fields are public and final.
    public static class Song {

        public static final Comparator<? super Song> COMPARATOR = new Comparator<Song>() {
            public int compare(Song song1, Song song2) {
                if (song1.quality == song2.quality) {
                    return -Integer.valueOf(song1.order).compareTo(song2.order);
                return Long.valueOf(song1.quality).compareTo(song2.quality);

        public final long quality;
        public final int order;
        public final String name;

         * @param quality - Quality of the song must be a non-negative integer.
         * @param order   - Order of the song (as it appears in the album) must be a positive integer.
         * @param name    - Name of the song must be non-null.
        public Song(final long quality, final int order, final String name) {
            if (quality < 0) {
                throw new IllegalArgumentException("quality = " + quality + "; expected a non-negative integer.");
            if (order <= 0) {
                throw new IllegalArgumentException("order = " + order + "; expected a positive integer.");
            if (name == null) {
                throw new NullPointerException("Name is null.");
            this.quality = quality;
            this.order = order;
            this.name = name;

    private static final void solveUsingFixedPriorityQueue() {
        final FastReader reader = FastReader.from(System.in);
        final int N = reader.nextInt();
        final int M = reader.nextInt();

        final FixedSizePriorityQueue<Song> songsQueue = new FixedSizePriorityQueue<Song>(M,

        // process each song, add to queue
        for (int i = 1; i <= N; ++i) {
            final long hits = reader.nextLong();
            final long quality = hits * i;
            final String name = reader.next();
            songsQueue.add(new Song(quality, i, name));


        // output the results in descending order
        final String[] descendingSongNames = new String[M];
        int i = M - 1;
        Song song = null;
        while ((song = songsQueue.priorityQueue.poll()) != null) {
            descendingSongNames[i--] = song.name;

        final PrintWriter writer = new PrintWriter(System.out);
        final String LINE_SEPARATOR = System.getProperty("line.separator");
        for (String str : descendingSongNames) {



    public static final void main(String[] args) {

The code is hosted on GitHub if anyone's interested. I will commit changes if necessary.


1 Answer 1


Three things which seem questionable to me (I don't do much Java so I'm not entirely familiar with all the language features):

  1. You access the private final priorityQueue which is the backing data structure directly within Song (songsQueue.priorityQueue.poll())

  2. The only public read access to your queue is a method labelled "Do not use"

  3. You have a method in your queue as part of your public interface which is commented as "Do not use". Either remove it, or simply state the draw backs so the user can make it's own decision.


One more thing:

solveUsingFixedPriorityQueue() contains too much responsibility: it reads the data, solves the problem and outputs the data. Those concerns should be separated:

  • Have one method reading the input and building the list of songs
  • Pass the list of song to the solve method which should return the resulting list/array
  • Have another write method generating the output by being passed in a list of songs.

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