yshen94's blog

By yshen94, history, 13 days ago,

the difference between using a reference (&) and a regular member variable

Let me explain the difference between using a reference (&) and a regular member variable in this context, and why a regular member variable is preferred.

References in C++ In C++, a reference is an alias for another variable. When you declare a reference, it must be initialized to refer to an existing object, and it cannot be reassigned to refer to another object after initialization.

Using a Reference When you declare a member variable as a reference, you are essentially saying that this member variable will always refer to some other existing variable. Here is what it looks like in your context:

cpp Copy code class NumMatrix { public: vector<vector>& pre_sum;

NumMatrix(vector<vector<int>>& matrix) : pre_sum(matrix) {
// Implementation
}

}; Here, pre_sum is a reference to matrix. This means pre_sum will always refer to matrix and cannot be reassigned to refer to something else. This is not suitable for your use case because you want pre_sum to be an independent data structure that holds the prefix sums, not just a reference to the input matrix.

Using a Regular Member Variable A regular member variable is an independent variable that is part of the object and can be initialized and modified as needed. Here is what it looks like in your context:

cpp Copy code class NumMatrix { public: vector<vector> pre_sum;

NumMatrix(vector<vector<int>>& matrix) {
// Check if the input matrix is empty
if (matrix.empty() || matrix[0].empty()) return;

int m = matrix.size();
int n = matrix[0].size();

// Initialize pre_sum with the same dimensions as matrix
pre_sum = vector<vector<int>>(m, vector<int>(n, 0));

// Calculate prefix sums
pre_sum[0][0] = matrix[0][0];
for(int i = 1; i < m; ++i) {
pre_sum[i][0] = pre_sum[i-1][0] + matrix[i][0];
}
for(int j = 1; j < n; ++j) {
pre_sum[0][j] = pre_sum[0][j-1] + matrix[0][j];
}
for(int i = 1; i < m; ++i) {
for(int j = 1; j < n; ++j) {
pre_sum[i][j] = pre_sum[i][j-1] + pre_sum[i-1][j] - pre_sum[i-1][j-1] + matrix[i][j];
}
}

// Debug output
for(int i = 0; i < m; ++i) {
for(int j = 0; j < n; ++j) {
cout << pre_sum[i][j] << ", ";
}
cout << endl;
}
}

int sumRegion(int row1, int col1, int row2, int col2) {
if (row1 == 0 && col1 == 0) return pre_sum[row2][col2];
else if (row1 == 0) return pre_sum[row2][col2] - pre_sum[row2][col1-1];
else if (col1 == 0) return pre_sum[row2][col2] - pre_sum[row1-1][col2];

return pre_sum[row2][col2] - pre_sum[row1-1][col2] - pre_sum[row2][col1-1] + pre_sum[row1-1][col1-1];
}

}; Here, pre_sum is an independent vector<vector> that is part of the NumMatrix object. It is initialized in the constructor and then filled with the prefix sums. This way, pre_sum is completely separate from the input matrix and can be modified independently.

Why a Regular Member Variable is Preferred Independence: pre_sum should be an internal data structure that stores the prefix sums independently of the input matrix. Flexibility: Using a regular member variable allows you to reinitialize or modify pre_sum as needed, whereas a reference must always refer to the same object it was initialized with. Encapsulation: It helps in encapsulating the logic and data within the NumMatrix class, which is a good practice in object-oriented programming. Summary In your case, pre_sum needs to be an independent data structure that the NumMatrix class manages internally. Using a regular member variable for pre_sum achieves this, while using a reference would incorrectly tie pre_sum to the input matrix, limiting its functionality and independence.

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