# 114. Flatten Binary Tree to Linked List

Reference: LeetCode

Difficulty: Medium

## Problem

Given a binary tree, flatten it to a linked list in-place.

**Example:**

1 | 1 |

The flattened tree should look like:

1 | 1 |

## Analysis

### Preorder

1 | 1 |

The idea is to use `preorder`

traversal. For example, when `root = 1`

, we want to set `1.right`

as `2`

and set `4.right`

as `5`

.

Notice that to know where `4`

is during the traversal, we can use a `prev`

node to keep track of the previous node. The previous node of `1`

is `4`

.

**Note:** I know the code could be shorter, but I think shorter code is barely readable!

1 | private TreeNode prevNode = null; |

**Time:** $O(N)$**Space:** $O(h)$

### Recursive Function

**Note:** Just a bit modification on the previous solution.

This idea is a more recursive idea. Let’s say we have a `flatten()`

function. For node `1`

, we can flatten its two children `2`

and `5`

. At that time, we don’t need to know the detail but we are sure that we will have:

1 | 1 1 // root |

Two subproblems have been flattened.

1 | private TreeNode prevNode = null; |

**Time:** $O(N)$**Space:** $O(N)$

### LeetCode Solution

More like `reversed postorder`

!

I don’t like this following method neither.

1 | private TreeNode prev = null; |

**Other Solution:** (not using field variable)

1 | public void flatten(TreeNode root) { |

**Time:** $O(N)$**Space:** $O(h)$

### Iteration (Preorder)

Use a `stack`

to simulate the preorder traversal, but we also use `peek`

operation to set current node’s right child to its left child.

1 | 1 |

**Note:**

- Before
`peeking`

, remember to check if the stack is empty. - Actually, we don’t have to check the stack’s size before calling
`peek()`

. If the stack is empty, it will just return`null`

. But it does not hold true for`Stack`

‘s`peek()`

.

1 | public void flatten(TreeNode root) { |

**Time:** $O(N)$**Space:** $O(h)$