Sorting Algorithms As A Video
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Saturday, 28 January 2012

A mixture of nostalgia and pure brilliance, this classic video from the 1980s shows everything you need to know about sorting, while proving just how far computer animation has progressed in the intervening years.

You may well have been impressed by the popular Sorting Algorithms as Dances, but once you have got over the catchy tunes and the glitzy costumes don't you really want a clear-cut, old-fashioned animation to back it all up?

 

sortingsorting1

This video is part history, part eduction and every programmer really should see it - probably more than once. "Sorting out Sorting" was made in the 80's by Dr. Ronald Baecker from the University of Toronto and it starts off with simple sorting algorithms such as bubble, insertion, shell and so on. It eventually gets to the quicksort and on to various tree sorts. Whatever you do, don't miss the final sorting comparison - it is an artwork in its own right as is the electronic music.

I need to warn you that the video has three small problems. The first is that it is initially a bit slow - but you can always jump ahead. It speeds up after the introduction. The second is that it lasts 30 minutes, but it is well worth watching to the end. Finally it suffers from being made on old technology - a film plotter that lacks the sort of resolution we take forgranted today, but thiscan be considered all part of its charm.

 

      

 

And yes, sorting was an important topic back in the 1980s - probably more so than it is today.

Further Reading:

Sorting Algorithms as Dances

Silverlight Sorting Lab

SilverSort

Magic of Merging

QuickSort exposed

Sequential storage

 

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