Sorting Algorithm

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What Does Sorting Algorithm Mean?

A sorting algorithm is an algorithm that sorts arrays of data. Different types of sort algorithms include:

  • Comparison sorts
  • Merge sorts
  • Insertions sorts
  • Bubble sorts
  • Quick sorts

Techopedia Explains Sorting Algorithm

In some ways, the sorting algorithm is a unit of more complex technology processes. For instance, in decision trees, which are set up to handle sorted data, a specific digital structure provides iterative sorting with algorithms to achieve a given result. For example, if an initial sorting algorithm fails to produce the complex result needed, the decision tree may apply another sorting algorithm, and another, based on its programming and setup, to come up with a finished product that meets the needs of its users.

Sorting algorithms are also useful in rapidly advancing fields like machine learning, partly because into the big data age and beyond, one of the biggest capabilities of IT systems is to manipulate large sets of data. This inherently involves quite a lot of sorting. In machine learning, where the machine learns from large sets of training data, sorting algorithms may be a major component of the intellectual and computational work involved in building the systems and implementing them.

As a result, understanding basic sorting algorithms is a necessary part of certain kinds of computer science work. In general, the computer scientist must be a kind of mathematician – understanding the terminology and lingo of mathematics and statistics, and understanding how to use each kind of sort algorithm effectively.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.