‘Sorting out Sorting’

There are times when my nerd shows more than usual. I recently found a movie on YouTube that that brought back a lot of nerdy memories from my studies. I got my bachelor and masters degree at the University of Bergen. I really liked chemistry and biology, but I also really liked computers. My father had shown me the joy that could be found in putting together a computer without the manual without any blue smoke appearing. The consequence of this was that I studied both molecular biology and computer science.

The movie in case is one that used to be shown in the last lecture in the ‘Data Structures and Algorithms’ course. This movie was made in 1981 and illustrates nine different sorting algorithms using fairly hefty graphics for the time and has a very distinct plink-plonk sound track. The tradition among the students was that when this movie was shown, we would show up with biscuits in the shape of letters, and rødbrus, which is a soda primarily made for children. We would then during the movie sort the letter biscuits using the algorithm that was currently shown in the film.  At the end, when all of the algorithms were shown at once and are racing against each other, we would all cheer for bubblesort. I do believe that somebody at some point actually made a banner in support of bubblesort.

So – in case you have been sitting there wondering which sorting algorithm is the fastest – sit back and enjoy. For my part, I have to go find some biscuits and rødbrus.

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