Intersection of Two Linked Lists LeetCode Solution

Problem – Intersection of Two Linked Lists

Given the heads of two singly linked-lists headA and headB, return the node at which the two lists intersect. If the two linked lists have no intersection at all, return null.

For example, the following two linked lists begin to intersect at node c1:

The test cases are generated such that there are no cycles anywhere in the entire linked structure.

Note that the linked lists must retain their original structure after the function returns.

Custom Judge:

The inputs to the judge are given as follows (your program is not given these inputs):

  • intersectVal – The value of the node where the intersection occurs. This is 0 if there is no intersected node.
  • listA – The first linked list.
  • listB – The second linked list.
  • skipA – The number of nodes to skip ahead in listA (starting from the head) to get to the intersected node.
  • skipB – The number of nodes to skip ahead in listB (starting from the head) to get to the intersected node.

The judge will then create the linked structure based on these inputs and pass the two heads, headA and headB to your program. If you correctly return the intersected node, then your solution will be accepted.

Example 1:

Input: intersectVal = 8, listA = [4,1,8,4,5], listB = [5,6,1,8,4,5], skipA = 2, skipB = 3
Output: Intersected at '8'
Explanation: The intersected node's value is 8 (note that this must not be 0 if the two lists intersect).
From the head of A, it reads as [4,1,8,4,5]. From the head of B, it reads as [5,6,1,8,4,5]. There are 2 nodes before the intersected node in A; There are 3 nodes before the intersected node in B.

Example 2:

Input: intersectVal = 2, listA = [1,9,1,2,4], listB = [3,2,4], skipA = 3, skipB = 1
Output: Intersected at '2'
Explanation: The intersected node's value is 2 (note that this must not be 0 if the two lists intersect).
From the head of A, it reads as [1,9,1,2,4]. From the head of B, it reads as [3,2,4]. There are 3 nodes before the intersected node in A; There are 1 node before the intersected node in B.

Example 3:

Input: intersectVal = 0, listA = [2,6,4], listB = [1,5], skipA = 3, skipB = 2
Output: No intersection
Explanation: From the head of A, it reads as [2,6,4]. From the head of B, it reads as [1,5]. Since the two lists do not intersect, intersectVal must be 0, while skipA and skipB can be arbitrary values.
Explanation: The two lists do not intersect, so return null.

Constraints:

  • The number of nodes of listA is in the m.
  • The number of nodes of listB is in the n.
  • 1 <= m, n <= 3 * 104
  • 1 <= Node.val <= 105
  • 0 <= skipA < m
  • 0 <= skipB < n
  • intersectVal is 0 if listA and listB do not intersect.
  • intersectVal == listA[skipA] == listB[skipB] if listA and listB intersect.

Intersection of Two Linked Lists LeetCode Solution in Java

public ListNode getIntersectionNode(ListNode headA, ListNode headB) {
    //boundary check
    if(headA == null || headB == null) return null;
    
    ListNode a = headA;
    ListNode b = headB;
    
    //if a & b have different len, then we will stop the loop after second iteration
    while( a != b){
    	//for the end of first iteration, we just reset the pointer to the head of another linkedlist
        a = a == null? headB : a.next;
        b = b == null? headA : b.next;    
    }
    
    return a;
}

Intersection of Two Linked Lists LeetCode Solution in C++

ListNode *getIntersectionNode(ListNode *headA, ListNode *headB) 
{
    ListNode *p1 = headA;
    ListNode *p2 = headB;
        
    if (p1 == NULL || p2 == NULL) return NULL;

    while (p1 != NULL && p2 != NULL && p1 != p2) {
        p1 = p1->next;
        p2 = p2->next;

        //
        // Any time they collide or reach end together without colliding 
        // then return any one of the pointers.
        //
        if (p1 == p2) return p1;

        //
        // If one of them reaches the end earlier then reuse it 
        // by moving it to the beginning of other list.
        // Once both of them go through reassigning, 
        // they will be equidistant from the collision point.
        //
        if (p1 == NULL) p1 = headB;
        if (p2 == NULL) p2 = headA;
    }
        
    return p1;
}

Intersection of Two Linked Lists LeetCode Solution in Python

class Solution:
    # @param two ListNodes
    # @return the intersected ListNode
    def getIntersectionNode(self, headA, headB):
        if headA is None or headB is None:
            return None

        pa = headA # 2 pointers
        pb = headB

        while pa is not pb:
            # if either pointer hits the end, switch head and continue the second traversal, 
            # if not hit the end, just move on to next
            pa = headB if pa is None else pa.next
            pb = headA if pb is None else pb.next

        return pa # only 2 ways to get out of the loop, they meet or the both hit the end=None

# the idea is if you switch head, the possible difference between length would be countered. 
# On the second traversal, they either hit or miss. 
# if they meet, pa or pb would be the node we are looking for, 
# if they didn't meet, they will hit the end at the same iteration, pa == pb == None, return either one of them is the same,None
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