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Bubble Sort: An Archaeological Algorithmic Analysis Owen Astrachan 1

Summary: Bubble Sort: An Archaeological Algorithmic Analysis
Owen Astrachan 1
Computer Science Department
Duke University
Text books, including books for general audiences, in-
variably mention bubble sort in discussions of elemen-
tary sorting algorithms. We trace the history of bub-
ble sort, its popularity, and its endurance in the face
of pedagogical assertions that code and algorithmic ex-
amples used in early courses should be of high quality
and adhere to established best practices. This paper is
more an historical analysis than a philosophical trea-
tise for the exclusion of bubble sort from books and
courses. However, sentiments for exclusion are sup-
ported by Knuth [17], "In short, the bubble sort seems
to have nothing to recommend it, except a catchy name
and the fact that it leads to some interesting theoreti-
cal problems." Although bubble sort may not be a best


Source: Astrachan, Owen - Department of Computer Science, Duke University


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences