# bitonic sort

(algorithm)

**Definition:**
Compare, and swap if necessary, pairs of elements in parallel. Subsets are sorted then merged.

**Also known as** Batcher sort.

**Generalization** (I am a kind of ...)

*oblivious algorithm*.

*Note:
This takes **O((log n)*^{2}/2) stages (or steps) with n/2 comparators at each stage.

*
* This sorts increasingly larger intermingled subsets, somewhat like *Shell sort*, and merges subsets, like *merge sort*.

Elements are compared and swapped in a fixed (oblivious) schedule, so this may be implemented with only conditional swaps. Here is a Batcher sort for four elements:

compareAndSwap(0, 1);

compareAndSwap(2, 3);

compareAndSwap(0, 2);

compareAndSwap(1, 3);

compareAndSwap(1, 2);

where compareAndSwap(i,j) is if (a[i] < a[j]) Swap(a[i], a[j]). Notice that the first pair of operations, (0, 1) and (2, 3), can be performed in parallel, as can the second pair (0, 2) and (1, 3).
* Knuth calls this Algorithm 5.2.2M [Knuth98, 3:111].*

Author: PEB

## Implementation

Prof. Dr. Hans Wener Lang's explanation, proof of correctness, analysis, bibliography, etc. (Java).
## More information

**K. E. Batcher**, *Sorting Networks and their Applications*, Proc. AFIPS Spring Joint Computer Conference, 32:307-314, 1968.

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Entry modified 16 February 2021.

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Paul E. Black, "bitonic sort", in
*Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures* [online], Paul E. Black, ed. 16 February 2021. (accessed TODAY)
Available from: https://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/bitonicSort.html