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Which is the best sorting method?

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July 23, 2009 7:06PM

Quicksort will usually be the best performing sort. However, quicksort has a worst-case time complexity of O(n2), which may not be reasonable in a real world application. Heapsort is often used in place of quicksort in these cases, as it has a worst-case of O(n log n).

The last of the "big three" sorts is mergesort, which excels in a few areas. Mergesort is trivially easy to parallelize, which is increasingly useful as multi-CPU machines become more and more common. Mergesort is also a stable sort, which may or may not be useful for a given application.