Flipping Stacks

We are now going to look at how to flip a stack. As was discussed previously, a stack is an ideal method for holding items in a queue such as an incoming call center.

Let’s say the following calls come into a call center. They are time-stamped for reference.

Call 5 – (469)382-1285 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:57
Call 4 – (682)552-3948 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:45
Call 3 – (214)233-0495 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:55
Call 2 – (817)927-3849 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:22
Call 1 – (972)828-1847 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:13

In this case, the call that has been placed on hold the longest is “Call 1”, which came in at 8:01:13. However, recall that in a stack I can only interact with the item on the TOP of the stack. In this case, that is “Call 5”.

So, we are going to create a system that “flips” this stack over, pulls the new top item off and then returns to stack to its original order so additional calls can go in the place they should.

So, assuming that we have a stack already created for the numbers, we will need to create an empty temporary stack to hold the items. As we move the items over, the temporary stack will look like the following:

Call 1 – (972)828-1847 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:13
Call 2 – (817)927-3849 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:22
Call 3 – (214)233-0495 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:55
Call 4 – (682)552-3948 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:45
Call 5 – (469)382-1285 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:57

As you can now see, “Call 1” is at the top of the stack and could be routed to the next available individual. However, if another new call were to come in, the stack would look like the following:

Call 6 – (512)231-1933 – 2017-02-13 / 08:03:19
Call 2 – (817)927-3849 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:22
Call 3 – (214)233-0495 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:55
Call 4 – (682)552-3948 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:45
Call 5 – (469)382-1285 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:57

To avoid our call queue getting mixed-up, immediately following the retrieval of the top item on the stack, we need to move the items from the temporary stack back to the original stack as follows:

Call 5 – (469)382-1285 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:57
Call 4 – (682)552-3948 – 2017-02-13 / 08:02:45
Call 3 – (214)233-0495 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:55
Call 2 – (817)927-3849 – 2017-02-13 / 08:01:22

Now, when “Call 6” comes in, it will go where it is supposed to go (following “Call 5”).

Let’s analyze the code for this problem.

//Program Name: Flipped Stacks
//Programmer Name: Eric Evans, M.Ed.
//Programmer Organization: Ferris High School
//Program Date: Spring 2017
import java.util.*;
public class flippedstacks {
    public static void main(String args[]){
        int count, myStackSize, myTempStackSize;
        Stack myStack = new Stack();
        for (count = 1; count <=10; count++){
            myStack.push(count);
        }
        myStackSize = myStack.size();
        Stack myTempStack = new Stack();
        for (count = 1; count <=myStackSize; count++){
            myTempStack.push(myStack.pop());
        }
        System.out.println("Current Caller is " + myTempStack.pop());
        myTempStackSize = myTempStack.size();
        for (count = 1; count <=myTempStackSize; count++){
            myStack.push(myTempStack.pop());
        }
    }
}

Lines 1 – 4 are the general header information. Lines 5 – 7 are the imports and creation of the class and main object.

Line 8 creates 3 uninitialized integer variables: count, myStackSize, and myTempStackSize.

Line 9 creates a new empty stack named “myStack”.

Lines 10 – 12 push content into the “myStack” stack. It pushes numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 into the stack.

Line 13 initializes the value of the myStackSize variable as the size of “myStack” using the size function of stacks.

Line 14 is like line 9, but it creates an empty stack named “myTempStack”. This will be the stack that temporarily holds our stack of information so we can get the first record.

Lines 15 – 17 push the content into the “myTempStack” stack by popping each record in the “myStack” stack. The for loop know how many times to do this by using the myStackSize variable that was declared on line 8 and initialized on line 13.

Line 18 displays which caller is the current caller by popping it from the top of the “myTempStack” stack.

Line 19 is like line 13 in that it initializes the value of the myTempStackSize variable as the size of “myTempStack” using the size function of stacks.

Line 19 is also the beginning of the process of reverting the stack back to its original order with the first (oldest) entry removed.

Lines 20 – 22 are similar to lines 15 – 17 but the reverse process. They push content into the “myStack” stack by popping each record in the “myTempStack” stack. The for loop knows how many times to do this by using the myTempStackSize variable that was declared on line 8 and initialized on line 19.

Line 24 & 25 close out lines 7 & 6 respectively.

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