move-to-front heuristic


Definition: A heuristic that moves the target of a search to the head of a list so it is found faster next time.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)
Self-organising_heuristic [Wikipedia].

See also move-to-root heuristic, transpose sequential search, self-organizing list.

Note: This technique speeds up linear search performance only if the target item is likely to be searched for again soon.

Author: PEB

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 23 December 2011.
HTML page formatted Fri Feb 23 10:06:08 2018.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "move-to-front heuristic", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 23 December 2011. (accessed TODAY) Available from: