Distribution of Execution Times for Sorting Algorithms Implemented in Java

Kirby McMaster, Samuel Sambasivam, Brian Rague, Stuart Wolthuis
InSITE 2015  •  2015  •  pp. 269-283
Algorithm performance coverage in textbooks emphasizes patterns of growth in execution times, relative to the size of the problem. Variability in execution times for a given problem size is usually ignored. In this research study, our primary focus is on the empirical distribution of execution times for a given algorithm and problem size. We examine CPU times for Java implementations of five sorting algorithms for arrays: selection sort, insertion sort, shell sort, merge sort, and quicksort. We measure variation in running times for these algorithms and describe how the sort-time distributions change as the problem size increases. Using our research methodology, we compare the relative stability of performance for the different sorting algorithms.
algorithm, sorting, performance, distribution, variation, Java
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