How to Find a Set Intersection in Java

Rashmi Patidar Feb 02, 2024
How to Find a Set Intersection in Java

The term Set is an interface present in the java.util package. A set is a collection interface that stores unordered lists and does not allow the storage of duplicate entities. Mathematically, the set interface has three properties.

  1. The elements in the Set are non-null.
  2. No two elements in the Set can be equal.
  3. A Set does not preserve insertion order.

Use the Set Insertion and Find the Set Intersection in Java

You can see the program below, which demonstrates the Set insertion and finding the intersection between two sets in Java.

import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.HashSet;
import java.util.List;
import java.util.Set;

public class SetIntersection {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    Set<Integer> s1 = new HashSet<>();
    System.out.println("Set1: " + s1);
    List list = Arrays.asList(1, 7, 6, 8);
    Set<Integer> s2 = new HashSet<>(list);
    System.out.println("Set2: " + s2);
    Set<Integer> intersection = new HashSet<>(s1);
    System.out.println("Intersection: " + intersection);

In the code above, a set is declared as the first step of the process. The new HashSet creates a new instance of the HashSet class and assigns the reference formed to the Set instance. The default capacity of HashSet is 16, and the load factor is 0.75. The HashSet class is compatible with the Set interface because the HashSet internally implements the Set interface.

The variable s1 gets initialized using the add method. The function adds the object of the defined type to the Set instance, considering that the object is non-null and is not duplicate. The function returns boolean based on whether the value is inserted or not. The function throws a ClassCastException if the class of the specified element is not similar to that of the Set instance. It throws a NullPointerException if the element is a null value and an IllegalArgumentException if some property of the element prohibits its addition into the Set collection.

Another way to create a set is using the list instance passed into the HashSet constructor parameter. The list gets initialized with defined values using the asList method of the Arrays class. The instance of the list gets passed as a parameter in the HashSet constructor. The Set collection does not preserve the order in which the elements get stored.

Another instance of the Set gets instantiated with the s1 instance as a constructor parameter. Now, this intersection reference invokes another method that is the retainAll function. The function only retains the elements that are present in invoking the instance and the invoked instance. The method returns boolean true when the Set gets changed in the retain operation. It throws an UnsupportedOperationException if it does not support the operation over sets. It throws a ClassCastException if there are incompatible set types and a NullPointerException if the Set contains a null element.

The output of the above intersection between sets is as below.


Set1: [1, 2, 7]
Set2: [1, 6, 7, 8]
Intersection: [1, 7]
Rashmi Patidar avatar Rashmi Patidar avatar

Rashmi is a professional Software Developer with hands on over varied tech stack. She has been working on Java, Springboot, Microservices, Typescript, MySQL, Graphql and more. She loves to spread knowledge via her writings. She is keen taking up new things and adopt in her career.


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