(definition)

**Definition:**
The theoretical speed of a given set of operations. It is *O(f(n))* when the execution time of the *worst case* of all sequences of *n* operations never exceeds O(n*f(n)).

**See also**
*potential function*, *best-case cost*, *average-case cost*, *worst-case cost*.

*Note:
The term "amortized worst case" is sometimes used to emphasize that the worst case of a set of operations is averaged.*

Author: CLK

**R. E. Tarjan**, *Amortized computational complexity*, SIAM Journal on Algebraic and Discrete Methods, 6(2):306-318, 1985.

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 17 December 2004.

HTML page formatted Fri Feb 23 10:06:07 2018.

Cite this as:

Chris L. Kuszmaul, "amortized cost", in
*Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures* [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY)
Available from: https://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/amortizdcost.html