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Encyclopedia > Sorting

Sorting refers to a process of arranging items in some sequence and/or in different sets, and accordingly, it has two common, yet distinct meanings:

  1. ordering: aranging items of the same kind, class, nature, etc. in some ordered sequence,
  2. categorizing: grouping and labeling items with similar properties together (by sorts).

Order is the opposite of anarchy and chaos. ... For Wikipedias categorization projects, see Wikipedia:Categorization. ...

Sorting information or data

One important kind of sorting is arranging items of information in alphabetical sequence according to some pre-defined ordering relation (sort key by each group of lists), e.g. when one sorts the books in a library by title, subject or author (all alphabetically sorted normally in ascending order).

The resulting order may be either ascending or descending, because essentially all sorting is numerical sorting. Now if you sort on different keys, then you get different lists of header information (such as the author's name) with the appended tailing records (such as title or publisher). Sorting in computer science is one of the most extensively researched subjects because of the need to speed up the operation on thousands or millions of records; see sorting algorithm during a search operation. Wikibooks has more about this subject: Wikiversity Riverside Graphics Lab Open Directory Project: Computer Science Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies Belief that title science in computer science is inappropriate Categories: Computer science | Academic disciplines ... In computer science and mathematics, a sorting algorithm is an algorithm that puts elements of a list in a certain order. ...

The main purpose of sorting information is to optimise its usefulness for specific tasks. In general, there are two ways of grouping information: by category e.g. a shopping catalogue where items are compiled together under headings such as 'home', 'sport & leisure', 'women's clothes' etc. and by the intensity of some property, such as price, e.g. from the cheapest to most expensive. This is illustrated by the following story:

Managers are on a course of basic computer terms and they are explained the meaning of sorting. The lecturer comes in and throws hundreds of various nails and screws, new, old, rusty and crooked, of different size and material on the table. S/he then tells them to: sort! The students in no time create a dozen or so heaps each with relatively homogenous members, and with some undecided cases left. The lecturer picks up a straight and strong nail, and hammers it in the wall with his/her shoe sole. "You failed to ask sort what for, or what to sort on" - s/he would tell the puzzled audience.

In the book Information Anxiety by Richard Saul Wurman, he proposes that the most common sorting purposes are Name, by Location and by Time (these are actually special cases of category and hierarchy). Together these give the acronym LATCH (Location, Alphabetical, Time, Category, Hierarchy) and can be used to describe just about every type of ordered information.

Often information is sorted using different methods at different levels of abstraction: e.g. the UK telephone directories which are sorted by location, by category (business or residential) and then alphabetically. New media still subscribe to these basic sorting methods: e.g. a Google search returns a list of web pages in a hierarchical list based on its own scoring system for how closely they match the search criteria (from closest match downwards).

The opposite of sorting, rearranging a sequence of items in a random or meaningless order, is called reshuffling. The term shuffle can also refer to the act of dragging ones feet on the ground while walking, running, or dancing. ...

Physical sorting processes

Various sorting tasks are essential in industrial processes. For example, during the extraction of gold from ore, a device called a shaker table uses gravity, vibration, and flow to separate gold from lighter materials in the ore (sorting by size and weight). Sorting is also a naturally occurring process that results in the concentration of ore. Sorting results from the application of some criterion or differential stressor to a mass to separate it into its components based on some variable quality. Materials that are different, but only slightly so, such as the isotopes of uranium, are very difficult to separate. General Name, Symbol, Number Gold, Au, 79 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11 (IB), 6, d Density, Hardness 19. ... This article covers the physics of gravitation. ... See Oscillator (disambiguation) for particular types of oscillation and oscillators. ... FLOW is a J-Pop group. ... An ore is a mineral deposit containing a metal or other valuable resource in economically viable concentrations. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Card Sorting (Design Usability Resources) - Information & Design (603 words)
Card Sorting is a technique for exploring how people group items, so that you can develop structures that maximize the probability of users being able to find items.
Card Sorting is appropriate when you have identified items that you need to categorize.
Card Sorting can be conducted in a variety of circumstances using various means - one-on-one, during workshops, by mail, or electronically.
CIS Department > Tutorials > Software Design Using C++ > External Sorting (1298 words)
External sorting refers to the sorting of a file that is on disk (or tape).
Internal sorting refers to the sorting of an array of data that is in RAM.
After the sorted runs have been generated, a merge algorithm is used to combine sorted files into longer sorted files.
  More results at FactBites »



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