balanced k-way merge sort


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 then repeatedly merges the k streams and puts each merged run into one of j output streams until there is a single sorted output.

See also simple merge, balanced merge sort, nonbalanced merge sort.

Note: This is an external sort.

Author: ASK

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Entry modified 16 May 2005.
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Cite this as:
Art S. Kagel, "balanced k-way merge sort", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed. 16 May 2005. (accessed TODAY) Available from: