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How to use the min_element() function in C++

Harsh Jain

The min_element() function in C++ accepts a list of values and returns the iterator that points to the smallest value among all the elements in the list. This function is available in <algorithm.h>.

Parameters

The min_element() function accepts the following parameters.

  • first: This is the iterator that points to the start of the array or vector where we want to find the minimum.

  • second_value: This is the iterator that points to the last position of the array or vector where we want to find the minimum.

  • comparator: This is an optional parameter that specifies the condition to pick the element from the array. In other words, you can pass a function that accepts two values and returns a Boolean value that denotes which value to pick out of the two given values.

Return

The min_element() returns an iterator that points to the smallest element in the array.

Code

Let’s look at the code now.

#include <iostream>
#include <vector>
#include <algorithm>
using namespace std;

int main() {
  vector<int> vec = {3,7,2,5,6,4,9};

  auto it = min_element(vec.begin(), vec.end());
  cout << "The smallest element is "  << *it;
  return 0;
}
Use min_element() function in C++

Explanation

  • From lines 1 to 3, we import the required header files.
  • In line 7, we create a vector of integers.
  • In line 9, we call the min_element() function and pass the required parameters.
  • Finally, in line 10, we print the smallest element in the vector.

We used *it to print the element as the function returns a pointer to the smallest element.

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