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Our teacher gave us the following definition of Big O notation:
O(f(n)): A function g(n) is in O(f(n)) (“big O of f(n)”) if there exist constants c > 0 and N such that |g(n)| ≤ c |f(n)| for all n > N. I'm trying to tease apart the various components of this definition. First of all, I'm confused by what it means for g(n) to be in O(f(n)). What does in mean?
Next, I'm confused by the overall second portion of the statement. Why does saying that the absolute value of g(n) less than or equal f(n) for all n > N mean anything about Big O Notation?
My general intuition for what Big O Notation means is that it is a way to describe the runtime of an algorithm. For example, if bubble sort runs in O(n^2) in the worst case, this means that it takes the time of n^2 operations (in this case comparisons) to complete the algorithm. I don't see how this intuition follows from the above definition.