Caspermartijn Caspermartijn - 1 year ago 77
Java Question

How to get the nearest Vector to a given target from a list

So imagine I've created a

class with two variables
in Java:

public class Vector {
private int x;
private int y;

public Vector(int x, int y) {
this.x = x;
this.y = y;

public int getX() {
return this.x;

public int getY(){
return this.y;

Then I've craeted an
of vectors:

private List<Vector> vecs = new ArrayList<Vector>();

I've created in that list:

etc ...

Now I want to get the closest vector to another vector.

private List<Vector> vecs = new ArrayList<Vector>();
private Vector vec = new Vector(1,1);

for(Vector vector:vecs) {
//What do i put here??

So what do i put in the for loop to make it select the nearest vector from the vector list?

Answer Source

I would start by adding a method to the Vector class, distanceTo, that calculates the distance from this vector to another one:

public double distanceTo(Vector vec) {
    double dx = x - vec.x;               //calculate the diffrence in x-coordinate
    double dy = y - vec.y;               //calculate the diffrence in y-coordinate
    return Math.sqrt(dx*dx + dy*dy);     //use the distance formula to find the difference

And then you can write the following method that returns the closest vector in a list to a given vector:

public static Vector closest(Vector target, List<Vector> list) {
    Vector closest = list.get(0);                                 //this variable will kep track of the closest vector we have found yet. We simply start with the first one

    for(int i = 1; i < list.size(); i++) {                        //loop over the list, skipping the first entry
        Vector curr = list.get(i);                                //get the current vector from the list
        if (target.distanceTo(curr) < target.distanceTo(closest)) //if the current vector is closer to target than the closest one yet
            closest = curr;                                       //keep the current vector as the new closest one

    return closest;                                               //return the resulting vector

This method can then be used like this:

Vector target = new Vector(1, 2);

List<Vector> vecs = new ArrayList<Vector>();
vecs.add(new Vector(-2, 6));
vecs.add(new Vector(1, 3));
vecs.add(new Vector(4, 0));
vecs.add(new Vector(8, -1));

Vector closest = findClosest(target, vecs);

As youn can see I tried to explain the code as best as I could, but feel free to ask any further questions!

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