sort.h is an implementation a ton of sorting algorithms in C with a user-defined type, that is defined at include time.
This means you don't have to pay the function call overhead of using standard library routine.
You get the choice of many extra sorting routines as well, including:
- Shell sort
- Binary insertion sort
- Heap sort
- Quick sort
- Merge sort
- Bubble sort (ugh)
- Tim sort
If you don't know which one to use, you should probably use Tim sort.
To use this library, you need to do three things:
- #define SORT_TYPE to be the type of the elements of the array you want to sort.
- #define SORT_NAME to be a unique name that will be prepended to all the routines, i.e., #define SORT_NAME mine would give you routines named mine_heap_sort, and so forth.
- #include "sort.h". Make sure that sort.h is in your include path, obviously.
Then, enjoy using the sorting routines.
See demo.c for example usage.
If you are going to use your own custom type, you must redefine SORT_CMP(x, y) with your comparison function, so that it returns a value less than zero if x < y, equal to zero if x == y, and greater than 0 if x > y.
The default just uses the builtin <, ==, and > operators:
#define SORT_CMP(x, y) ((x) < (y) ? -1 : ((x) == (y) ? 0 : 1))
It is often just fine to just subtract the arguments as well (though this can cause some stability problems with floating-point types):
#define SORT_CMP(x, y) ((x) - (y))
Speed of routines
The speed of each routine is highly dependent on your computer and the structure of your data.
If your data has a lot of, like partially sorted sequences, then Tim sort will beat the pants off of anything else.
In general, Tim sort is probably the best sorting algorithm in this library, even for random data.
Tim sort is not as good if memory movement is many orders of magnitude more expensive than comparisons (like, many more than for normal int and double). If so, then quick sort is probably your routine. On the other hand, Tim sort does extremely well if the comparison operator is very expensive, since it strives hard to minimize comparisons.
Here is the output of demo.c, which will give you the timings for a run of 10,000 things on my old Mac Pro (2006-era 2.66 GHz Xeons, 64-bit) on OS X 10.6:
Running tests quick sort time: 740.20 us per iteration bubble sort time: 183914.60 us per iteration merge sort time: 954.20 us per iteration binary insertion sort time: 20472.70 us per iteration heap sort time: 994.50 us per iteration shell sort time: 1170.30 us per iteration tim sort time: 708.50 us per iteration
Christopher Swenson (email@example.com)
- timsort.txt (under doc/)
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Copyright (c) 2010 Christopher Swenson
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