<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
In 1985, Susan Merritt proposed a new taxonomy for comparison-based sorting algorithms. At the heart of Merritt's thesis is the principle of divide and conquer. Merritt's thesis is potentially a very powerful method for studying and understanding sorting. However, the paper did not offer any concrete implementation of the proposed taxonomy. The following is our object-oriented formulation and implementation of Merritt's taxonomy.

The following discussion is based on the the SIGCSE 2001 paper by Nguyen and Wong, "Design Patterns for Sorting" D. Nguyen and S. Wong, “Design Patterns for Sorting,” SIGCSE Bulletin 33:1, March 2001, 263-267 .

Merritt's thesis

In 1985, Susan Merritt proposed that all comparison-based sorting could be viewed as “Divide and Conquer” algorithms. S. Merritt, "An Inverted Taxonomy of Sorting Algorithms," Comm. of the ACM, Jan. 1985, Volume 28, Number 1, pp. 96-99 That is, sorting could be thought of as a process wherein one first "divides" the unsorted pile of whatever needs to sorted into smaller piles and then "conquers" them by sorting those smaller piles. Finally, one has to take the the smaller, now sorted piles and recombines them into a single, now-sorted pile.

We thus end up with a recursive definition of sorting:

  • To sort a pile:
    • Split the pile into smaller piles
    • Sort the smaller piles
    • Join the sorted smaller piles into a single pile

We can see Merritt's recursive notion of sorting as a split-sort-join process in a pictoral manner by considering the general sorting process as a "black box" process that takes an unsorted set and returns a sorted set. Merritt's thesis thus contends that this sorting process can be described as a splitting followed by a sorting of the smaller pieces followed by a joining of the sorted pieces. The smaller sorting process can thus be similarly described. The base case of this recursive process is when the set has been reduced to a single element, upon which the sorting process cannot be broken down any more as it is a trivial no-op.

Animation of the merritt sorting thesis (click the "reveal more" button)

Sorting can be seen as a recursive process that splits the unsorted items into multiple unsorted sets, sorts them and then rejoins the now sorted sets. When a set is reduced to a single element (blank boxes above), sorting is a trivial no-op.

Merritt's thesis is potentially a very powerful method for studying and understanding sorting. In addition, Merritt's abstract characterization of sorting exhibits much object-oriented (OO) flavor and can be described in terms of OO concepts.

Capturing the abstraction

So, how do we capture the abstraction of sorting as described by Merritt? Fundamentally, we have to recognize that the above description of sorting contains two distinct parts: the invariant process of splitting into sub-piles, sorting the sub-piles and joining the sub-piles, and the variant processes of the actual splitting and joining algorithms used.

Here, we will restrict ourselves to the process of sorting an array of objects, in-place -- that is, the original array is mutated from unsorted to sorted (as opposed to returning a new array of sorted values and leaving the original untouched). The Comparator object used to compare objects will be given to the sorter's constructor.

Abstract sorter class

Invariant sorting process represented in an abstract class
The invariant sorting process is represented as an abstract class
Here, the invariant process is represented by the concrete sort method, which performs the split-sort-sort-join process as described by Merritt. The variant processes are represented by the abstract split and join methods, whose exact behaviors are indeterminate at this time.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Principles of object-oriented programming. OpenStax CNX. May 10, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10213/1.37
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of object-oriented programming' conversation and receive update notifications?