Kadane’s Algorithm in Java: A Simple Guide to Finding Maximum Subarray Sum

Kadane’s Algorithm is a widely used technique for solving problems related to finding the maximum subarray sum in an array. It efficiently handles both positive and negative numbers and has a time complexity of O(n). In this blog post, we will explore the concept of Kadane’s Algorithm, its implementation in Java, and its practical uses.

Understanding Kadane’s Algorithm: Kadane’s Algorithm works by scanning the array from left to right, maintaining two variables: maxSoFar and maxEndingHere. The maxSoFar variable stores the maximum subarray sum encountered so far, while maxEndingHere keeps track of the maximum subarray sum ending at the current element.

Implementation in Java: Let’s implement Kadane’s Algorithm in Java:

public class KadaneAlgorithm {
    public static int findMaxSubarraySum(int[] arr) {
        int maxSoFar = arr[0];
        int maxEndingHere = arr[0];

        for (int i = 1; i < arr.length; i++) {
            maxEndingHere = Math.max(arr[i], maxEndingHere + arr[i]);
            maxSoFar = Math.max(maxSoFar, maxEndingHere);

        return maxSoFar;

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        int[] arr = { -2, 1, -3, 4, -1, 2, 1, -5, 4 };
        int maxSum = findMaxSubarraySum(arr);
        System.out.println("Maximum subarray sum: " + maxSum);

In this example, we have an input array arr with some random integers. The findMaxSubarraySum() method takes this array as input and returns the maximum subarray sum using Kadane’s Algorithm.

Explanation and Example: Let’s understand how Kadane’s Algorithm works with an example using the array arr = { -2, 1, -3, 4, -1, 2, 1, -5, 4 }:

  • Initialize maxSoFar and maxEndingHere with the first element, which is -2.
  • Iterate through the array from the second element.
  • For each element, compare it with the sum of the current element and the previous maxEndingHere. Take the maximum of the two and update maxEndingHere.
  • Update maxSoFar by comparing it with the current maxEndingHere.
  • Repeat the above steps until all elements are processed.
  • Finally, return maxSoFar, which will be the maximum subarray sum.

In our example, the maximum subarray sum is 6, which corresponds to the subarray {4, -1, 2, 1}.

Practical Uses of Kadane’s Algorithm: Kadane’s Algorithm finds its applications in various scenarios, such as:

  1. Stock market analysis: Finding the maximum profit by considering the changes in stock prices over a given period.
  2. Image processing: Identifying the largest connected components or regions of interest in an image.
  3. Data analytics: Analyzing time-series data to identify the maximum positive/negative changes.

Kadane’s Algorithm provides an efficient way to find the maximum subarray sum in an array. With its time complexity of O(n), it is widely used in solving problems related to data analysis, image processing, and financial applications. By implementing Kadane’s Algorithm in Java, you can effectively tackle such problems and optimize your solutions. Remember to carefully understand the algorithm’s steps and experiment with different test cases to solidify your understanding.

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