Definition: A merge sort that sorts a data stream using repeated merges. It distributes the input into k streams by repeatedly reading a block of input that fits in memory, called a run, sorting it, then writing it to the next stream. It merges runs from the k streams into an output stream. It then repeatedly distributes the runs in the output stream to the k streams and merges them until there is a single sorted output.
Also known as p-way merge sort.
Aggregate child (... is a part of or used in me.)
See also balanced k-way merge sort, simple merge, balanced merge sort, nonbalanced merge sort.
Note: This is an external sort.
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Entry modified 30 November 2007.
HTML page formatted Fri Mar 25 16:20:34 2011.
Cite this as:
Art S. Kagel, "k-way merge sort", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed., U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. 30 November 2007. (accessed TODAY) Available from: http://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/kwayMergeSort.html