Definition: Given n tape drives, one input and n-1 work drives, distribute a portion of the input to n-2 tapes, then merge them onto the final tape reading the n-2 backward. Repeat until n-2 (backward) merged runs have been created, at which time they are merged. Continue building up powers of n-2 batches until done.
Generalization (I am a kind of ...)
See also merge sort.
Sheldon Sobel, Oscillating Sort-A New Sort Merging Technique, Journal of the ACM, 9(3):372-374, July 1962.
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Entry modified 16 November 2009.
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Paul E. Black, "oscillating merge sort", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed., U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. 16 November 2009. (accessed TODAY) Available from: http://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/oscillatingMergeSort.html