How to find time complexity of an algorithm
You add up how many machine instructions it will execute as a function of the size of its input, and then simplify the expression to the largest (when N is very large) term and can include any simplifying constant factor.
For example, lets see how we simplify
2N + 2 machine instructions to describe this as just
Why do we remove the two
We are interested in the performance of the algorithm as N becomes large.
Consider the two terms 2N and 2.
What is the relative influence of these two terms as N becomes large? Suppose N is a million.
Then the first term is 2 million and the second term is only 2.
For this reason, we drop all but the largest terms for large N.
So, now we have gone from
2N + 2 to
Traditionally, we are only interested in performance up to constant factors.
This means that we don’t really care if there is some constant multiple of difference in performance when N is large. The unit of 2N is not well-defined in the first place anyway. So we can multiply or divide by a constant factor to get to the simplest expression.
2N becomes just