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Table of contents
Problem Statement
Complexity analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Euclidean distance?
What is a hash map?
What kind of sorting is used in the C++ STL sort() function?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

K Closest Points To Origin

Author Malay Gain
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Data structures & algorithms (Beginner to Intermediate)
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13 chapters
99+ problems
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K Closest Points To Origin is a simple problem that can be solved using the brute force approach. Here we will discuss the approach and complexity of the algorithm. 

Also Read, Prefix Sum Array

Problem Statement

Given an array of points where points[i] = [xi, yi] represents a point on the X-Y plane and an integer k, return the k closest points to the origin (0, 0).

The distance between two points on the X-Y plane is the Euclidean distance (i.e., √(x1 - x2)^2 + (y1 - y2)^2).



points = [ [3,3],[5,-1],[-2,4]], 

k = 2


Output: [[3,3],[-2,4]]    (these are the 2 closest points among 3 points)


See the below diagram for a better understanding.

illustration image


Note: Please try to solve the problem first and then see the below solution approach.

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Here we will take nothing but a brute-force approach to solve this problem. First, we will iterate through all the points and find the corresponding distances from the origin for each point. Then we will find k shortest distances and corresponding points.


For finding the k shortest distances, we need to store the distance and index of the corresponding point. Then we sort the distances and print the first k points corresponding to distances.



  • Iterate over the array of points.
  • Find the Euclidean distance of each point from the origin.
  • Use a hashmap to store the distance and corresponding point’s index
  • Sort the hashmap according to the distances
  • Print the k points using the first k indices in the hash map. These are the closest points to the origin.




// c++ code to find  k-closest-points-to-origin

using namespace std;

vector<vector<int>> kClosest(vector<vector<int>>& points, int k) {
        vector<pair<int,int>> m;
        vector<vector<int>> closest;
        for(int i=0;i<points.size();i++)
            int dist=(pow(points[i][0],2)+pow(points[i][1],2)); 

            //using hash map to store the distance and corresponding //point's index
        sort(m.begin(),m.end());// Sorting the hash map according to the // distances

        int i=1;
        //storing k points using the first k indices in the hash map
        for(auto id:m)
                return closest;
        return closest;

// driver code

int main()
vector<vector<int>> points;


int k=2;

vector<vector<int>> closest=kClosest(points,k);

for(auto point:closest)




Complexity analysis

Here the time complexity of the algorithm for finding k closest points is O(nlog n) where n is the number of points.


Space complexity is O(n) as we are using extra space for a hash map.

You can also explore about GCD Euclidean Algorithm here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Euclidean distance?

Euclidean distance between two points (x1,y1) and (x2,y2) is 

√(x1 - x2)^2 + (y1 - y2)^2)

What is a hash map?

It is a special kind of data structure that is used to store a unique key and associated value(key-value pair).

What kind of sorting is used in the C++ STL sort() function?

It uses a hybrid sorting algorithm of insertion sort, heap sort, and quicksort.


This article covered how to find K Closest Points To Origin.


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Happy learning!

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