I have the following function.

int fun(int n) 
  int count = 0; 
  for (int i = n; i > 0; i /= 2) 
     for (int j = 0; j < i; j++) 
        count += 1; 
  return count; 

It has O(N) time complexity. I thought it's O(N LogN)(i.e. If we remove the inner loop we get)

for (int i = n; i > 0; i /= 2){

This is O(Log N) isn't it? And the inner loop turns out to be O(N) as it just increase linearly. So I think it's supposed to be O(Log N * N). What might go wrong on my thought?

  • $\begingroup$ Mistake: The inner loop is not linear in n. $\endgroup$
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Look at how many steps the inner loop is taking. It's $n + \frac{1}{2}n + \frac{1}{4}n + \cdots$. However the geometric series tells us:

$$\sum_{k=0}^{\lceil\log n\rceil +c}\frac{n}{2^k} < n\sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{1}{2^k} = 2n$$

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Not related to the correct answer. But for the outer loop, is that O(Log N) right? $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2020 at 13:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Plain_Dude_Sleeping_Alone Yes the outer loop does $\lceil \log n \rceil + c$ iterations (where $c$ is some off-by-one error I'm too lazy to figure out precisely), which is why I put it as the upper bound of the first sum. $\endgroup$
    – orlp
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 13:36

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