This is a sorting algorithm. It may be applied to a set of data in order to sort it. For comparing various sorts, see compare sorts. For other sorting algorithms, see sorting algorithms, or:
Bead sort | Bogo sort | Common sorted list | Composite structures sort | Custom comparator sort | Counting sort | Disjoint sublist sort | External sort | Jort sort | Lexicographical sort | Natural sorting | Order by pair comparisons | Order disjoint list items | Order two numerical lists | Object identifier (OID) sort | Pancake sort | Quickselect | Permutation sort | Radix sort | Ranking methods | Remove duplicate elements | Sleep sort | Stooge sort | [Sort letters of a string] | Three variable sort | Topological sort | Tree sort
Sorting is a way of arranging a group of things in a specified order. Normally, the order is a "natural order." Examples of natural orders are counting order or alphabetical order.
In computing, time and memory usage are of concern when sorting. Some algorithms are very fast, but use a lot of memory, or vice versa. Usually, speed has higher priority.
The speed of an algorithm is often determined by the number of compares and/or swaps required. This is denoted as its "order" and is shown in Big O notation.
For example, a Quicksort is usually noted for being of "order n log n" (where n is the size of the group). This shown in Big O notation as "O(n log(n))."
Sorting algorithms often have different orders depending on characteristics of the group being sorted.
For example, the Quicksort will perform at O(n^2) when the group is already ordered. A sort which "swaps" elements within the group is called an "in-place sort." A sort which moves elements to another group, destroys, or simply ignores the original group is sometimes called an "out-of-place sort" or a "not-in-place sort." An example of an out-of-place sort is the counting sort.
For complete implementations of various sorting algorithms, see Category:Sorting Algorithms.
For examples of how to use sorting functionality provided by a language, see: