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Thread: Arrays.sort or iterative search?

  1. #1
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    Default Arrays.sort or iterative search?

    I have a large integer array of mixed values I want to search for the highest and lowest values. I have a method to iterate through each element in the array. I was thinking Arrays.sort() might be faster, however I need to retain the order of the elements in the array.

    Would it be more efficient to:
    a) Stick with the iterative method
    b) Make a copy of the array, sort and then take the first and last elements and lowest and highest respectively

    Any suggestions much appreciated


  2. #2
    Super Moderator helloworld922's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arrays.sort or iterative search?

    Have you heard of the QuickSelect algorithm? It's quite good at finding the min/max (I think in practice it's about O(log(n)) average, O(n) worst case).

    If you only need a few min/max value, I'd say stick with the quickselect algorithm. Otherwise, it may just be better to use the full quicksort routine (which is probably the algorithm used by Array.sort()).

    edit:

    I was mistaken. The best way to find the #1 min/max is to iterate. The best way to find the #nth min/max is to use quickselect, or quicksort if you need to find a lot of min/max values.
    Last edited by helloworld922; September 16th, 2009 at 02:20 AM.

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