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Beginning Algorithms by James Ross, Simon Harris

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Chapter 7. Advanced Sorting

In Chapter 6, you learned about three sorting algorithms that were effective for small to medium problems. Although these algorithms are easy to implement, you need a few more sorting algorithms to tackle bigger problems. The algorithms in this chapter take a little more time to understand, and a little more skill to implement, but they are among the most effective general-purpose sorting routines you'll come across. One great thing about these algorithms is that they have been around for many years and have stood the test of time. Chances are good they were invented before you were born, as they date back as far as the 1950s. They are certainly older than both of the authors! Rest assured that the time you spend learning how these algorithms work will still be paying off in many years.

This chapter discusses the following:

  • Understanding the shellsort algorithm

  • Working with the quicksort algorithm

  • Understanding the compound comparator and stability

  • How to use the mergesort algorithm

  • Understanding how compound comparators can overcome instability

  • Comparing advanced sorting algorithms

Understanding the Shellsort Algorithm

One of the main limitations of the basic sorting algorithms is the amount of effort they require to move items that are a long way from their final sorted position into the correct place in the sorted result. The advanced sorting algorithms covered in this chapter give you the capability to move items a long way quickly, which is why they are far ...

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