Next: Applications of Sorting
Up: Data Structures and Sorting
Previous: Specialized Data Structures
By the time they graduate, computer science students are
likely to have studied the
basic sorting algorithms in their introductory programming class,
then in their data structures class, and finally in their algorithms class.
Why is sorting worth so much attention?
There are several reasons:

Sorting is the basic building block around which many other algorithms
are built.
By understanding sorting, we obtain an amazing amount of power to solve
other problems.

Historically, computers have spent more time sorting than doing anything else.
A quarter of all mainframe cycles are spent sorting data [Knu73b].
Although it is unclear whether this remains true on smaller computers,
sorting remains the most ubiquitous combinatorial algorithm problem in
practice.

Sorting is the most throughly studied problem in computer science.
Literally
dozens of different algorithms are known, most of which possess some advantage
over all other algorithms in certain situations.
To become convinced of this, the reader is encouraged to browse through
[Knu73b], with hundreds of pages of interesting sorting algorithms
and analysis.

Most of the interesting ideas used in the design of algorithms
appear in the context of sorting, such as
divideandconquer, data structures,
and randomized algorithms.
Algorithms
Mon Jun 2 23:33:50 EDT 1997