Browse Definitions :
Definition

sorting algorithm

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A sorting algorithm is a method for reorganizing a large number of items into a specific order, such as alphabetical, highest-to-lowest value or shortest-to-longest distance. Sorting algorithms take lists of items as input data, perform specific operations on those lists and deliver ordered arrays as output. The many applications of sorting algorithms include organizing items by price on a retail website and determining the order of sites on a search engine results page (SERP).

A few examples of sorting algorithms:

  • The bubble sort algorithm repeatedly proceeds through the list, comparing pairs of adjacent items and exchanging their positions if they are in the wrong order. The algorithm passes through the list in that way until the entire list has been sorted.
  • The insertion sort algorithm starts by putting the first two items in order and then compares the third item with the second one, swapping positions if necessary and repeats that action with the first item. Subsequent items subjected to the same process often don't have to be moved far through the sorted items.
  • The Shell sort algorithm compares and sorts items at intervals, decreasing the size of the interval at each pass through the list. The final passes through are a bubble sort but it's much faster because items are already closer to their desired positions.
  • The quicksort algorithm selects a random item in the list, compares all the other items to it and organizes them into those that belong before the selected item and those that belong after it. That means that none of the items have to be compared with those in the other group again. The method proceeds by selecting random items within those two groups of items and repeating the process. Eventually, some other method such as the insertion algorithm does the final sorting.

This TED-ED presentation compares sorting algorithms:

This was last updated in October 2017

Continue Reading About sorting algorithm

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • identity provider

    An identity provider is a system component that is able to provide an end user or internet-connected device with a single set of ...

  • firewall

    A firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or leave a ...

  • encryption

    Encryption is the method by which information is converted into secret code that hides the information's true meaning. The ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

Close