oscillating merge sort


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 ...)
external sort.

See also merge sort.

Author: PEB



More information

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 12 February 2019.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "oscillating merge sort", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed. 12 February 2019. (accessed TODAY) Available from: