# How do I find the biggest difference in an array?

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##### 3 Comments

madhan ravi
on 7 Sep 2018

You mean the difference between the two elements 1 and 18 because we just ignore the max value ?

### Answers (4)

Matt J
on 7 Sep 2018

Edited: Matt J
on 8 Sep 2018

If only consecutive differences are to be considered,

A=[62 1 18];

diffs= diff(A);

result=max( diffs(diffs>=0) )

EDIT :

If they can be non-consecutive,

diffs=triu( A(:).'- A(:) );

result=max( diffs(diffs>=0) )

##### 5 Comments

Paolo
on 8 Sep 2018

Ah yes that is what OP is asking for, read Image Analyst's comment and got confused

Image Analyst
on 7 Sep 2018

The code below will work even if the biggest difference is not in adjacent elements, and if the values are negative.

A = [62, 10, 18, 100, 4, -300];

% The biggest difference is between element 4 and 6 and has a distance of 400.

distances = pdist2(A', A')

maxDistance = max(distances(:))

[rows, columns] = find(distances == maxDistance)

index1 = rows(1);

index2 = columns(1);

% Swap if necessary

if index1 > index2

[index1, index2] = deal(index2, index1)

end

message = sprintf('The biggest difference is between\nelement #%d (%f) and\nelement #%d (%f)\nwith a difference of %f',...

index1, A(index1), index2,A(index2), A(index1)-A(index2));

fprintf('%s\n', message);

uiwait(helpdlg(message));

You'll see

distances =

0 52 44 38 58 362

52 0 8 90 6 310

44 8 0 82 14 318

38 90 82 0 96 400

58 6 14 96 0 304

362 310 318 400 304 0

maxDistance =

400

rows =

6

4

columns =

4

6

index1 =

4

index2 =

6

The biggest difference is between

element #4 (100.000000) and

element #6 (-300.000000)

with a difference of 400.000000

It uses pdist2() in the Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox to compute the difference of every element from every element (including itself).

##### 2 Comments

Image Analyst
on 25 May 2020

This works:

targetValue = 3;

v = [2, 8, 15, 11, 31]

numElements = numel(v)

distances = pdist2(v(:), v(:))

% Subtract the target value and we'll want to look for values closest to 0.

d2 = distances - targetValue

% Now we don't want 0 which is just the distance between an element and itself.

% So tell it not to look at the diagonal.

validIndexes = ~eye(numElements)

% Find the min for non-diagonal pairs.

d2 = distances(validIndexes)

minDistance = min(d2) % Find the min

% List values where it's the target value.

[rows, columns] = find(distances == minDistance)

for k = 1 : length(rows)/2

fprintf('%d and %d have a difference of %d.\n', v(rows(k)), v(columns(k)), minDistance);

end

You'll see:

v =

2 8 15 11 31

numElements =

5

distances =

0 6 13 9 29

6 0 7 3 23

13 7 0 4 16

9 3 4 0 20

29 23 16 20 0

d2 =

-3 3 10 6 26

3 -3 4 0 20

10 4 -3 1 13

6 0 1 -3 17

26 20 13 17 -3

validIndexes =

5×5 logical array

0 1 1 1 1

1 0 1 1 1

1 1 0 1 1

1 1 1 0 1

1 1 1 1 0

d2 =

6

13

9

29

6

7

3

23

13

7

4

16

9

3

4

20

29

23

16

20

minDistance =

3

rows =

4

2

columns =

2

4

11 and 8 have a difference of 3.

Image Analyst
on 8 Sep 2018

If you want to find the biggest difference in the upwards direction only, ignoring any differences in the downward direction (where the index of the bigger value is less than the index of the smaller value), and want to allow elements that don't need to be adjacent to each other, this code will work:

% Make vector where biggest difference in the upwards direction is between index 2 and 6.

% Note there is a bigger difference in the downward direction

% between elements 5 and 6, but we don't care about that.

A = [130, 85, 110, 100, 115, 80, 105]

plot(A, 'b*-', 'LineWidth', 2, 'MarkerSize', 14);

grid on;

xlabel('Index', 'FontSize', 20);

ylabel('Value', 'FontSize', 20);

[rows, columns] = size(A)

for row = 1 : length(A)

for col = 1 : length(A)

distances(row, col) = A(row) - A(col);

end

end

distances % Print to command window.

% Consider only positive differences

distances = tril(distances)

maxDistance = max(distances(:))

[rows, columns] = find(distances == maxDistance)

index1 = rows(1);

index2 = columns(1);

% Swap if necessary

if index1 > index2

[index1, index2] = deal(index2, index1)

end

% Put a circle around the pair we found on the plot.

hold on;

plot([index1, index2], [A(index1), A(index2)], 'ro', 'MarkerSize', 20, 'LineWidth', 2);

message = sprintf('The biggest difference is between\nelement #%d (%.1f) and\nelement #%d (%.1f)\nwith a difference of %.1f',...

index1, A(index1), index2,A(index2), A(index2)-A(index1));

fprintf('%s\n', message);

uiwait(helpdlg(message));

Note how it finds elements 2 and 5 with a difference of 30 even though elements 5 and 6 have a difference of 35, but the bigger value occurs at index 5, which comes before the index of the smaller value at index 6, so I ignore that pair.

##### 0 Comments

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