top-down radix sort


Definition: A recursive bucket sort where elements are distributed based on succeeding pieces (characters) of the key.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)
bucket sort.

Specialization (... is a kind of me.)
postman's sort.

Aggregate child (... is a part of or used in me.)

See also radix sort.

Note: For the first pass, elements are distributed according to the first character. In the first recursive call, the elements in each bucket are distributed to new "subbuckets" according to the second character. Succeeding deeper recursions use corresponding succeeding characters.

This is similar to radix sort, but works "top down" or "most significant digit first" while radix sort works "bottom up" or "least significant digit first". Also radix sort merges distributed items while this does not.

Author: PEB


(C and Pascal)
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Entry modified 16 November 2009.
HTML page formatted Fri Feb 23 10:06:08 2018.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "top-down radix sort", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 16 November 2009. (accessed TODAY) Available from: