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Sorting algorithms as special cases of a priority queue sort
Responsible organisation
2011 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper offers an exercise for revisiting the main sorting algorithms after they have been taught to students. This is done in a way that emphasizes the relationships between them, and shows how considering abstraction and extreme cases can lead to the generation of new algorithms. A number of authors (including textbook authors) have noted particular relationships between algorithms, such as an uneven split in merge sort being equivalent to insertion sort. In this paper we use a flexible priority queue, the d-heap, to derive three common sorting algorithms. We combine this with using a BST as a priority queue, plus prior observations in the literature, to show strong relationships between the main sorting algorithms that appear in textbooks. In the process students are able to revisit a number of algorithms and data structures and explore elegant relationships between them. This approach can also lead to exercises and exam questions that go beyond desk-checking to evaluate students' understanding of these algorithms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dallas: ACM , 2011.
Keyword [en]
D-heap, Priority queue, Sorting algorithms
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-7498DOI: 10.1145/1953163.1953203Local ID: oai:bth.se:forskinfo75BDE3B3F68C88ABC12578BE003207B5ISBN: 978-145030500-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-7498DiVA: diva2:835122
Conference
42nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE
Available from: 2012-09-18 Created: 2011-06-29 Last updated: 2015-06-30Bibliographically approved

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Aspvall, Bengt
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