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

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