Problem Statement
Given an integer array nums
, return true
if any value appears at least twice in the array, and return false
if every element is distinct.
Example 1:
Input: nums= [1, 2, 3, 4]
Output: false
Explanation: There are no duplicates in the given array.
Example 2:
Input: nums= [1, 2, 3, 1]
Output: true
Explanation: '1' is repeating.
Solution
Approach 1: Brute Force
We can use a brute force approach and compare each element with all other elements in the array. If any two elements are the same, we'll return true
. If we've gone through the entire array and haven't found any duplicates, we'll return false
.
Code
Here is the code for this algorithm:
Time Complexity The algorithm takes O(N^2) where N is the number of elements in the input array. This is because we need to compare each element with all other elements, which takes O(N^2) time.
Space Complexity The algorithm takes O(1), because we only need a few variables to store the indices, which takes constant space.
Approach 2: Using Hash Set
We can use the set
data structure to check for duplicates in an array.
Since a set
can only hold unique elements, we can check if the elements in the given array are present more than once by adding them to a set
. This way, we can determine if there are any duplicates in the array.
This approach works as follows:

A set named
unique_set
is created to store unique elements. 
The algorithm then iterates through the input array
nums
. 
For each element "x" in the array, the algorithm checks if "x" is already in the
unique_set
.
If "x" is in the
unique_set
, then the algorithm returns True, indicating that a duplicate has been found. 
If "x" is not in the
unique_set
, then the algorithm adds "x" to theunique_set
.


The iteration continues until all elements in the array have been processed.

If no duplicates are found, the algorithm returns False.
This approach utilizes the property of sets to store only unique elements, making it an efficient solution for finding duplicates in an array.
Code
Here is the code for this algorithm:
Time Complexity The algorithm takes O(N) where N is the number of elements in the input array. This is because we iterate the array only once.
Space Complexity The algorithm takes O(N), as it stores the numbers in a set.
Approach 3: Sorting
Another approach is to sort the array first and then check for duplicates.
We'll sort the array and then iterate through it, comparing each element with the next one.
If any two elements are the same, we'll return true
. If we've gone through the entire array and haven't found any duplicates, we'll return false
.
Code
Here is the code for this algorithm:
Time Complexity: O(N*logN), where N is the number of elements in the array nums
. This is because sorting the array takes O(N*logN) time.
Space Complexity: O(1) or O(n), depending on the sorting algorithm used. If an inplace sorting algorithm is used, the space complexity will be O(1). If a sorting algorithm that creates a new array is used, the space complexity will be O(N), where N is the number of elements in the array nums
.