How to Tilt a Binary Tree in Java

The challenge

Given the root of a binary tree, return the sum of every tree node’s tilt.

The tilt of a tree node is the absolute difference between the sum of all left subtree node values and all right subtree node values. If a node does not have a left child, then the sum of the left subtree node values is treated as 0. The rule is similar if there the node does not have a right child.

Example 1:

Input: root = [1,2,3]
Output: 1
Explanation: 
Tilt of node 2 : |0-0| = 0 (no children)
Tilt of node 3 : |0-0| = 0 (no children)
Tile of node 1 : |2-3| = 1 (left subtree is just left child, so sum is 2; right subtree is just right child, so sum is 3)
Sum of every tilt : 0 + 0 + 1 = 

Example 2:

Input: root = [4,2,9,3,5,null,7]
Output: 15
Explanation: 
Tilt of node 3 : |0-0| = 0 (no children)
Tilt of node 5 : |0-0| = 0 (no children)
Tilt of node 7 : |0-0| = 0 (no children)
Tilt of node 2 : |3-5| = 2 (left subtree is just left child, so sum is 3; right subtree is just right child, so sum is 5)
Tilt of node 9 : |0-7| = 7 (no left child, so sum is 0; right subtree is just right child, so sum is 7)
Tilt of node 4 : |(3+5+2)-(9+7)| = |10-16| = 6 (left subtree values are 3, 5, and 2, which sums to 10; right subtree values are 9 and 7, which sums to 16)
Sum of every tilt : 0 + 0 + 0 + 2 + 7 + 6 = 15

Example 3:

Input: root = [21,7,14,1,1,2,2,3,3]
Output: 9

Constraints:

  • The number of nodes in the tree is in the range [0, 104].
  • -1000 <= Node.val <= 1000

Definition for a Binary Tree Node

public class TreeNode {
    int val;
    TreeNode left;
    TreeNode right;
    TreeNode() {}
    TreeNode(int val) { this.val = val; }
    TreeNode(int val, TreeNode left, TreeNode right) {
        this.val = val;
        this.left = left;
        this.right = right;
    }
}

The solution in Java code

class Solution {
    public int findTilt(TreeNode root) {
        if (root == null) return 0;
        
        int[] result = walk(root);
        return result[1];
    }
    
    private int[] walk(TreeNode root) {
        if (root == null) return new int[] {0, 0};
        
        int[] left = walk(root.left);
        int[] right = walk(root.right);
        
        int subtreeSum = left[0] + right[0] + root.val;
        int tiltSum = left[1] + right[1] + Math.abs(left[0] - right[0]);
        
        return new int[] {subtreeSum, tiltSum};
    }
}
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