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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Selection sort

Selection sort is the most conceptually simple of all the sorting algorithms. It works by selecting the smallest (or largest, if you want to sort from big to small) element of the array and placing it at the head of the array. Then the process is repeated for the remainder of the array; the next largest element is selected and put into the next slot, and so on down the line.

Because a selection sort looks at progressively smaller parts of the array each time (as it knows to ignore the front of the array because it is already in order), a selection sort is slightly faster than bubble sort, and can be better than a modified bubble sort.
Here is the code for a simple selection sort:

	for(int x=0; x<n; x++)


int index_of_min = x;

for(int y=x; y<n; y++)




index_of_min = y;



int temp = array[x];

array[x] = array[index_of_min];

array[index_of_min] = temp;


The first loop goes from 0 to n, and the second loop goes from x to n, so it goes from 0 to n, then from 1 to n, then from 2 to n and so on. The multiplication works out so that the efficiency is n*(n/2), though the order is still O(n^2).

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