josmith42 josmith42 - 1 year ago 100
C++ Question

Elegant way to find closest value in a vector from above

I need a function that takes a vector (assumed to be sorted), and a value, and returns the closest number that's [edit] greater than less than or equal to that number, preferably using an algorithm from the STL. I have come up with a solution using std::lower_bound(), but it seems kludgy and ugly:

struct ClosestCmp {
bool operator()(const int & x, const int & y) { return x > y; }

// vec is assumed to be sorted
int closest(const std::vector<int> & vec, int value)
std::vector<int>::const_reverse_iterator cri =
std::lower_bound(vec.rbegin(), vec.rend(), value, ClosestCmp());
if (cri != vec.rend()) {
return *cri;
return -1;

// ...
std::cout << closest(vec, 2) << "\n"; // Should ouput "2"
std::cout << closest(vec, 3) << "\n"; // Should ouput "2"
std::cout << closest(vec, 4) << "\n"; // Should ouput "4"

Can anyone suggest a way that's more elegant, maybe using an STL algorithm without needing a comparison function or a reverse iterator? I have looked in the STL, but haven't been able to find a better solution than this.

Answer Source

You can only use std::lower_bound and std::upper_bound with binary predicates that match the order of the container. So, you can't sort by < and then use a different binary predicate (say <= or >). So your "kludge" is actually the correct thing to do. The sorted vector in reverse is the ordering criteria you want to use to find the element less than or equal to the value. (Otherwise, if you were actually searching for the value greater than or equal to, you could just use std::lower_bound.)

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