Quicksort is a popular and common sorting algorithm that known to be really efficient. It createn 1959, and published in 1961 by Tony Hoare (He's known for Null reference, Processes and Structured Programming etc. too).
Then, let's get into algorithm. If we need to visualize the algorithm, we can visualize it like this:
How algorithm works:
Check if list is empty or vice versa
If the list is one element return the element,
else, continue to the function.
Select a pivot
Pivot is generally being the first element of list.
But pivot can be any element of list too.
[b, a, d, e, c], Our pivot is b
- Filter the smaller/bigger numbers than pivot (
a) Basically, you should iterate on elements of list, and get the bigger numbers than pivot (
a). Then, you should do the same thing for the smaller numbers too. For example:
bigger = Filter numbers in [b, a, d, e, c] bigger than a smaller = Filter numbers in [b, a, d, e, c] smaller than or equal to a
- Sort the filtered
smallernumbers and concenate them Now, we will sort (using same algorithm the
smallernumbers to get order in them and concenate it with the pivot (
quicksort(smaller) + [a] + quicksort(bigger)
Then we finished our algorithm! Now, let's implement it in Python & OCaml.
I tried to comment Python alot to beginners understand the code.
def quicksort(array): if not array: # If list is empty return  pivot = array # Pivot is the first element of list smaller = [n for n in array if n < pivot] # Filter the smaller numbers bigger = [n for n in array if n > pivot] # Filter the bigger numbers return quicksort(smaller) + [pivot] + quicksort(bigger) # Concenate sorted smaller and sorted bigger with pivot
Now, let's implement it in OCaml!
let rec quicksort list = match list with |  ->  | pivot :: _ -> let smaller = List.filter (fun n -> n < pivot) list in let bigger = List.filter (fun n -> n > pivot) list in quicksort(smaller) @ [pivot] @ quicksort(bigger)
Let's try to run it in repl
# quicksort [5, 1, 9, 4, 6, 7, 3];; - : (int * int * int * int * int * int * int) list = [(5, 1, 9, 4, 6, 7, 3)]
It works! (After 18 tries)
And finally, the performance of Quicksort is:
- Worst performance:
- Average performance:
O(n log n)
- Best performance:
O(n log n)
The average and best performance is same.
If we need to visualize the sorted list:
(Special thanks to Learn you a Haskell for great good! for photo. It has really good Haskell chapters!)
In the next posts, i'll share the Quickselect algorithm developed by same person developed Quicksort (Tony Hoare)! Goodbye!
Top comments (7)
Despite the name, the quick sort algorithm has a worst-case complexity of O(n²). You might or might not want to try merge sort instead, depending on the size (and sorting state) of your list.
Or you could select a random element to be the pivot, that way you reduce a lot the chances of waving the worst case
Thanks for reminding me! I just forgot to add it.
quicksort in Ruby. Short and clear.
I just tried to make it more readable for beginners. I can do oneliner in Python and OCaml too.
It's still readable, IMO.