Design a Stack With Increment Operation

To solve this problem, we’ll maintain an internal list stack that will be used to simulate the custom stack operations. For increment operation, we can iterate the bottom k elements of the stack and increase their values by val.

Here’s the detailed approach:

  1. Initialization: The __init__ method initializes an empty stack and sets the maximum size.

  2. Push: The push method checks if the current size of the stack is less than maxSize. If so, it adds the element to the top of the stack.

  3. Pop: The pop method checks if the stack is empty. If it’s not empty, it pops the topmost element and returns it. Otherwise, it returns -1.

  4. Increment: The increment method increments the bottom k elements by val. If k is greater than or equal to the size of the stack, all elements are incremented.

Here’s the implementation:

class CustomStack:
    def __init__(self, maxSize: int):
        self.stack = []
        self.maxSize = maxSize

    def push(self, x: int) -> None:
        if len(self.stack) < self.maxSize:

    def pop(self) -> int:
        if self.stack:
            return self.stack.pop()
        return -1

    def increment(self, k: int, val: int) -> None:
        for i in range(min(k, len(self.stack))):
            self.stack[i] += val

This implementation adheres to the constraints given and performs each of the operations in O(1) time, except for the increment operation, which takes O(k) time in the worst case.

Identifying Problem Isomorphism

“Design a Stack With Increment Operation” can be approximately mapped to “Design a Special Stack”.

In “Design a Stack With Increment Operation”, you have to design a stack which supports push, pop, and an increment operation, which increments the bottom k elements of the stack.

In “Design a Special Stack”, the task is to design a stack with an additional getMin operation, which retrieves the minimum element from the stack.

Although these problems do not share the same additional operation (increment in the former, getMin in the latter), they both necessitate designing a stack with an added operation that requires considering the entire stack, not just the top element. In “Design a Stack With Increment Operation”, you have to manage the bottom k elements of the stack during the increment operation, while in “Design a Special Stack”, you need to track the minimum element in the entire stack.

They involve augmenting a basic stack with additional operations. “Design a Stack With Increment Operation” is complex due to the need to manage multiple elements (bottom k) during the increment operation.

10 Prerequisite LeetCode Problems

For this, the following are a good preparation:

  1. “155. Min Stack” - This problem introduces you to designing a stack that supports retrieval of the minimum element in constant time. This understanding of stack design can be used in the main problem.

  2. “716. Max Stack” - In this problem, you need to design a stack that supports push, pop, top, peekMax and popMax operations, which gives you practice on designing more advanced stacks.

  3. “225. Implement Stack using Queues” - This problem teaches you how to implement a stack using queues, which strengthens your understanding of how stacks work.

  4. “232. Implement Queue using Stacks” - This problem is the reverse of 225, asking you to implement a queue using stacks. Both these problems improve your versatility with these data structures.

  5. “739. Daily Temperatures” - In this problem, you use a stack to find the next greater element, which can help you understand how to use a stack to process elements in an array.

  6. “503. Next Greater Element II” - This problem extends the concept of finding the next greater element to a circular array.

  7. “496. Next Greater Element I” - Here, you’re required to find the next greater element for each element in an array, testing your ability to process an array using a stack.

  8. “901. Online Stock Span” - This problem uses a stack to find the span of stock’s price for all previous days, introducing the concept of processing “real-time” data with a stack.

  9. “284. Peeking Iterator” - This problem requires implementing a special kind of iterator that supports the peek operation, which can help with designing a stack with special operations.

  10. “173. Binary Search Tree Iterator” - This problem involves designing a special kind of iterator for a BST, testing your ability to design complex data structures.

These cover how to design a stack with various operations, how to use a stack to process arrays, and how to use other data structures to implement a stack, which are valuable for solving the problem “1381. Design a Stack With Increment Operation”.

Clarification Questions

What are the clarification questions we can ask about this problem?

Identifying Problem Isomorphism

Can you help me with finding the isomorphism for this problem?

Which problem does this problem map to the corresponding isomorphic problem on Leetcode ?

How did you identify that this problem is a variation of problem?

Problem Analysis and Key Insights

What are the key insights from analyzing the problem statement?

Problem Boundary

What is the scope of this problem?

How to establish the boundary of this problem?

Problem Classification

Problem Statement:Design a stack that supports increment operations on its elements.

Implement the CustomStack class:

CustomStack(int maxSize) Initializes the object with maxSize which is the maximum number of elements in the stack. void push(int x) Adds x to the top of the stack if the stack has not reached the maxSize. int pop() Pops and returns the top of the stack or -1 if the stack is empty. void inc(int k, int val) Increments the bottom k elements of the stack by val. If there are less than k elements in the stack, increment all the elements in the stack.

Example 1:

Input [“CustomStack”,“push”,“push”,“pop”,“push”,“push”,“push”,“increment”,“increment”,“pop”,“pop”,“pop”,“pop”] [[3],[1],[2],[],[2],[3],[4],[5,100],[2,100],[],[],[],[]] Output [null,null,null,2,null,null,null,null,null,103,202,201,-1] Explanation CustomStack stk = new CustomStack(3); // Stack is Empty [] stk.push(1); // stack becomes [1] stk.push(2); // stack becomes [1, 2] stk.pop(); // return 2 –> Return top of the stack 2, stack becomes [1] stk.push(2); // stack becomes [1, 2] stk.push(3); // stack becomes [1, 2, 3] stk.push(4); // stack still [1, 2, 3], Do not add another elements as size is 4 stk.increment(5, 100); // stack becomes [101, 102, 103] stk.increment(2, 100); // stack becomes [201, 202, 103] stk.pop(); // return 103 –> Return top of the stack 103, stack becomes [201, 202] stk.pop(); // return 202 –> Return top of the stack 202, stack becomes [201] stk.pop(); // return 201 –> Return top of the stack 201, stack becomes [] stk.pop(); // return -1 –> Stack is empty return -1.


1 <= maxSize, x, k <= 1000 0 <= val <= 100 At most 1000 calls will be made to each method of increment, push and pop each separately.

Analyze the provided problem statement. Categorize it based on its domain, ignoring ‘How’ it might be solved. Identify and list out the ‘What’ components. Based on these, further classify the problem. Explain your categorizations.

Distilling the Problem to Its Core Elements

Can you identify the fundamental concept or principle this problem is based upon? Please explain. What is the simplest way you would describe this problem to someone unfamiliar with the subject? What is the core problem we are trying to solve? Can we simplify the problem statement? Can you break down the problem into its key components? What is the minimal set of operations we need to perform to solve this problem?

Visual Model of the Problem

How to visualize the problem statement for this problem?

Problem Restatement

Could you start by paraphrasing the problem statement in your own words? Try to distill the problem into its essential elements and make sure to clarify the requirements and constraints. This exercise should aid in understanding the problem better and aligning our thought process before jumping into solving it.

Abstract Representation of the Problem

Could you help me formulate an abstract representation of this problem?

Given this problem, how can we describe it in an abstract way that emphasizes the structure and key elements, without the specific real-world details?


Are there any specialized terms, jargon, or technical concepts that are crucial to understanding this problem or solution? Could you define them and explain their role within the context of this problem?

Problem Simplification and Explanation

Could you please break down this problem into simpler terms? What are the key concepts involved and how do they interact? Can you also provide a metaphor or analogy to help me understand the problem better?


Given the problem statement and the constraints provided, identify specific characteristics or conditions that can be exploited to our advantage in finding an efficient solution. Look for patterns or specific numerical ranges that could be useful in manipulating or interpreting the data.

What are the key insights from analyzing the constraints?

Case Analysis

Could you please provide additional examples or test cases that cover a wider range of the input space, including edge and boundary conditions? In doing so, could you also analyze each example to highlight different aspects of the problem, key constraints and potential pitfalls, as well as the reasoning behind the expected output for each case? This should help in generating key insights about the problem and ensuring the solution is robust and handles all possible scenarios.

Provide names by categorizing these cases

What are the edge cases?

How to visualize these cases?

What are the key insights from analyzing the different cases?

Identification of Applicable Theoretical Concepts

Can you identify any mathematical or algorithmic concepts or properties that can be applied to simplify the problem or make it more manageable? Think about the nature of the operations or manipulations required by the problem statement. Are there existing theories, metrics, or methodologies in mathematics, computer science, or related fields that can be applied to calculate, measure, or perform these operations more effectively or efficiently?

Simple Explanation

Can you explain this problem in simple terms or like you would explain to a non-technical person? Imagine you’re explaining this problem to someone without a background in programming. How would you describe it? If you had to explain this problem to a child or someone who doesn’t know anything about coding, how would you do it? In layman’s terms, how would you explain the concept of this problem? Could you provide a metaphor or everyday example to explain the idea of this problem?

Problem Breakdown and Solution Methodology

Given the problem statement, can you explain in detail how you would approach solving it? Please break down the process into smaller steps, illustrating how each step contributes to the overall solution. If applicable, consider using metaphors, analogies, or visual representations to make your explanation more intuitive. After explaining the process, can you also discuss how specific operations or changes in the problem’s parameters would affect the solution? Lastly, demonstrate the workings of your approach using one or more example cases.

Inference of Problem-Solving Approach from the Problem Statement

Can you identify the key terms or concepts in this problem and explain how they inform your approach to solving it? Please list each keyword and how it guides you towards using a specific strategy or method. How can I recognize these properties by drawing tables or diagrams?

How did you infer from the problem statement that this problem can be solved using ?

Simple Explanation of the Proof

I’m having trouble understanding the proof of this algorithm. Could you explain it in a way that’s easy to understand?

Stepwise Refinement

  1. Could you please provide a stepwise refinement of our approach to solving this problem?

  2. How can we take the high-level solution approach and distill it into more granular, actionable steps?

  3. Could you identify any parts of the problem that can be solved independently?

  4. Are there any repeatable patterns within our solution?

Solution Approach and Analysis

Given the problem statement, can you explain in detail how you would approach solving it? Please break down the process into smaller steps, illustrating how each step contributes to the overall solution. If applicable, consider using metaphors, analogies, or visual representations to make your explanation more intuitive. After explaining the process, can you also discuss how specific operations or changes in the problem’s parameters would affect the solution? Lastly, demonstrate the workings of your approach using one or more example cases.

Identify Invariant

What is the invariant in this problem?

Identify Loop Invariant

What is the loop invariant in this problem?

Is invariant and loop invariant the same for this problem?

Thought Process

Can you explain the basic thought process and steps involved in solving this type of problem?

Explain the thought process by thinking step by step to solve this problem from the problem statement and code the final solution. Write code in Python3. What are the cues in the problem statement? What direction does it suggest in the approach to the problem? Generate insights about the problem statement.

Establishing Preconditions and Postconditions

  1. Parameters:

    • What are the inputs to the method?
    • What types are these parameters?
    • What do these parameters represent in the context of the problem?
  2. Preconditions:

    • Before this method is called, what must be true about the state of the program or the values of the parameters?
    • Are there any constraints on the input parameters?
    • Is there a specific state that the program or some part of it must be in?
  3. Method Functionality:

    • What is this method expected to do?
    • How does it interact with the inputs and the current state of the program?
  4. Postconditions:

    • After the method has been called and has returned, what is now true about the state of the program or the values of the parameters?
    • What does the return value represent or indicate?
    • What side effects, if any, does the method have?
  5. Error Handling:

    • How does the method respond if the preconditions are not met?
    • Does it throw an exception, return a special value, or do something else?

Problem Decomposition

  1. Problem Understanding:

    • Can you explain the problem in your own words? What are the key components and requirements?
  2. Initial Breakdown:

    • Start by identifying the major parts or stages of the problem. How can you break the problem into several broad subproblems?
  3. Subproblem Refinement:

    • For each subproblem identified, ask yourself if it can be further broken down. What are the smaller tasks that need to be done to solve each subproblem?
  4. Task Identification:

    • Within these smaller tasks, are there any that are repeated or very similar? Could these be generalized into a single, reusable task?
  5. Task Abstraction:

    • For each task you’ve identified, is it abstracted enough to be clear and reusable, but still makes sense in the context of the problem?
  6. Method Naming:

    • Can you give each task a simple, descriptive name that makes its purpose clear?
  7. Subproblem Interactions:

    • How do these subproblems or tasks interact with each other? In what order do they need to be performed? Are there any dependencies?

From Brute Force to Optimal Solution

Could you please begin by illustrating a brute force solution for this problem? After detailing and discussing the inefficiencies of the brute force approach, could you then guide us through the process of optimizing this solution? Please explain each step towards optimization, discussing the reasoning behind each decision made, and how it improves upon the previous solution. Also, could you show how these optimizations impact the time and space complexity of our solution?

Code Explanation and Design Decisions

  1. Identify the initial parameters and explain their significance in the context of the problem statement or the solution domain.

  2. Discuss the primary loop or iteration over the input data. What does each iteration represent in terms of the problem you’re trying to solve? How does the iteration advance or contribute to the solution?

  3. If there are conditions or branches within the loop, what do these conditions signify? Explain the logical reasoning behind the branching in the context of the problem’s constraints or requirements.

  4. If there are updates or modifications to parameters within the loop, clarify why these changes are necessary. How do these modifications reflect changes in the state of the solution or the constraints of the problem?

  5. Describe any invariant that’s maintained throughout the code, and explain how it helps meet the problem’s constraints or objectives.

  6. Discuss the significance of the final output in relation to the problem statement or solution domain. What does it represent and how does it satisfy the problem’s requirements?

Remember, the focus here is not to explain what the code does on a syntactic level, but to communicate the intent and rationale behind the code in the context of the problem being solved.

Coding Constructs

Consider the code for the solution of this problem.

  1. What are the high-level problem-solving strategies or techniques being used by this code?

  2. If you had to explain the purpose of this code to a non-programmer, what would you say?

  3. Can you identify the logical elements or constructs used in this code, independent of any programming language?

  4. Could you describe the algorithmic approach used by this code in plain English?

  5. What are the key steps or operations this code is performing on the input data, and why?

  6. Can you identify the algorithmic patterns or strategies used by this code, irrespective of the specific programming language syntax?

Language Agnostic Coding Drills

Your mission is to deconstruct this code into the smallest possible learning units, each corresponding to a separate coding concept. Consider these concepts as unique coding drills that can be individually implemented and later assembled into the final solution.

  1. Dissect the code and identify each distinct concept it contains. Remember, this process should be language-agnostic and generally applicable to most modern programming languages.

  2. Once you’ve identified these coding concepts or drills, list them out in order of increasing difficulty. Provide a brief description of each concept and why it is classified at its particular difficulty level.

  3. Next, describe the problem-solving approach that would lead from the problem statement to the final solution. Think about how each of these coding drills contributes to the overall solution. Elucidate the step-by-step process involved in using these drills to solve the problem. Please refrain from writing any actual code; we’re focusing on understanding the process and strategy.

Targeted Drills in Python

Now that you’ve identified and ordered the coding concepts from a complex software code in the previous exercise, let’s focus on creating Python-based coding drills for each of those concepts.

  1. Begin by writing a separate piece of Python code that encapsulates each identified concept. These individual drills should illustrate how to implement each concept in Python. Please ensure that these are suitable even for those with a basic understanding of Python.

  2. In addition to the general concepts, identify and write coding drills for any problem-specific concepts that might be needed to create a solution. Describe why these drills are essential for our problem.

  3. Once all drills have been coded, describe how these pieces can be integrated together in the right order to solve the initial problem. Each drill should contribute to building up to the final solution.

Remember, the goal is to not only to write these drills but also to ensure that they can be cohesively assembled into one comprehensive solution.


Similar Problems

Can you suggest 10 problems from LeetCode that require similar problem-solving strategies or use similar underlying concepts as the problem we’ve just solved? These problems can be from any domain or topic, but they should involve similar steps or techniques in the solution process. Also, please briefly explain why you consider each of these problems to be related to our original problem. The response text is of the following format:

Here are 10 problems that use similar underlying concepts: