Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Sort algorithm

In computer science and mathematics, a sort algorithm is an algorithm that puts elements of a list into order by means of a certain ordering, often lexicographical. Efficient sorting is important to optimizing the use of other algorithms (such as search algorithms and merge algorithms) that require sorted lists to work correctly; it is also often useful for canonicalizing data and for producing human-readable output.

Sort algorithms used in computer science are often classified by:

Sorting algorithms that are not stable can be specially implemented to be stable. One way of doing this is to artificially extend the key comparison, such that comparisons between two objects with otherwise equal keys are decided using the order of the entries in the original data order as a tie-breaker.

Some sorting algorithms follow, in typical runtime order, grouped by stability:

Table of contents
1 Stable
2 Unstable
3 External links and References



Questionable sort algorithms not intended for production use:

See work-in-place article for the list of sort algorithms that can be written as work-in-place.

An old version of QBASIC has a file "sortdemo.bas" in the examples folder that provides a graphical representation of several of the various sort procedures described here, as well as performance ratings of each.

Compare with:

External links and References