# Glossary

## Algo: Stack

Each time a function is called, its local variables and parameters are "pushed onto" the stack. When the function returns, these locals and parameters are "popped." Because of this, the size of a program's stack fluctuates constantly as the program is running, but it has some maximum size.

One way of describing the stack is as a last in, first out (LIFO) abstract data type and linear data structure. A stack can have any abstract data type as an element, but is characterized by two fundamental operations, called push and pop (or pull). The push operation adds a new item to the top of the stack, or initializes the stack if it is empty. If the stack is full and does not contain enough space to accept the given item, the stack is then considered to be in an overflow state. The pop operation removes an item from the top of the stack. A pop either reveals previously concealed items, or results in an empty stack, but if the stack is empty then it goes into underflow state (It means no items are present in stack to be removed). A stack pointer is the register which holds the value of the stack. The stack pointer always points to the top value of the stack.

A stack is a restricted data structure, because only a small number of operations are performed on it. The nature of the pop and push operations also means that stack elements have a natural order. Elements are removed from the stack in the reverse order to the order of their addition: therefore, the lower elements are those that have been on the stack the longest.