Quicksort is a sorting algorithm that is very efficient. It was created by British computer scientist Tony Hoare in 1959 and published in 1961, and it is still a common sorting algorithm. It can be slightly faster than merge sort and two to three times faster than heapsort when properly implemented.

Quicksort is based on the divide-and-conquer strategy. It works by picking a ‘pivot’ element from the array and partitioning the remaining elements into two sub-arrays based on whether they are greater or less than the pivot. As a result, it’s also known as partition-exchange type. [number four] The sub-arrays are then recursively sorted.

Quicksort is a comparison sort, which means it can sort items of any kind that have a “less-than” relation (formally, a total order) specified for them. Quicksort is not a stable sort, which means that the relative order of equivalent sort objects is not maintained in efficient implementations.

Quicksort’s mathematical analysis reveals that sorting n objects requires on average O(n log n) comparisons. In the worst-case scenario, it performs O(n2) comparisons, though this is uncommon.

Quicksort uses a divide-and-conquer approach. The input array is first divided into two smaller sub-arrays: low elements and high elements. The sub-arrays are then sorted recursively. For in-place Quicksort, follow these steps:

Choose one of the array’s pivot elements.

Reorder the array so that all elements with values less than the pivot appear first, and all elements with values greater than the pivot appear last (equal values can go either way). The pivot is now in its final place after partitioning. The partition process is what it’s called.

Apply the steps above recursively to the sub-array of elements with lower values and separately to the sub-array of elements with higher values.

The recursion’s base case is arrays of size zero or one, which are always in order by design and don’t need to be sorted.

The pivot selection and partitioning steps can be carried out in a variety of ways; the implementation scheme chosen has a significant impact on the algorithm’s efficiency.

Types of sorts

Quicksort with several pivots

Multi-pivot quicksort (also multiquicksort) partitions the input into some s number of subarrays using s 1 pivots instead of two subarrays using a single pivot. Sedgewick and others found the dual-pivot case (s = 3) in the mid-1970s, but the resulting algorithms were not faster in operation than the “classical” quicksort. A 1999 study found that a multiquicksort with a variable number of pivots, optimised to allow effective use of processor caches, increased the number of instructions by 20%, but simulation results indicated that it would be more efficient on very large inputs.

Quicksort from the outside

An external sort based on partitioning, similar to quicksort, is possible for disc files. It’s slower than external merge form, but it doesn’t take up any more room on the hard drive. Two buffers are used for input and two buffers are used for output. Let N represent the number of records in the file, B represent the number of records per buffer, and M represent the number of buffer segments in the file. From both ends of the register, data is read (and written) inwards.

Quicksort with three-way radix

This algorithm combines radix sorting and quicksorting. Choose an element from the array (the pivot) and think about the string’s first character (key) (multikey). Divide the remaining elements into three groups: those whose corresponding character is less than, equal to, or greater than the pivot’s character, and those whose corresponding character is greater than the pivot’s character. Sort the “less than” and “greater than” partitions on the same character in a recursive manner. Order the “equal to” partition by the next character in a recursive manner (key).

Sorting radixes quickly

Powers also created an O(K) parallel PRAM algorithm. This is a mixture of radix sort and quicksort, except that the quicksort left/right partition judgement is taken on the key’s successive bits, making it O(KN) for N K-bit keys. Since we can sort in O(N) time using a hash table or integer sorting if K is smaller, all comparison sort algorithms implicitly assume the transdichotomous model with K in (log N). If K log N but elements are special within O(log N) bits, neither quicksort nor quick radix sort will look at the remaining bits.


Minimizing the number of comparisons in any comparison-based sorting algorithm necessitates maximising the amount of information obtained from each comparison, which means that the comparison results are unpredictable. This leads to a lot of branch mispredictions, which limits efficiency. Quicksort’s computations are rearranged in BlockQuicksort to turn volatile branches into data dependencies. The input is partitioned into moderate-sized blocks (which fit easily into the data cache), and two arrays with the positions of elements to swap are filled.

Worst-case scenario diagnosis

When one of the sublists returned by the partitioning routine is of size n 1, the partition is the most unbalanced.

This can happen if the pivot is the smallest or largest element in the list, or when all the elements are equal in some implementations (e.g., the Lomuto partition scheme mentioned above).

If this happens in every partition, each recursive call will process a list that is one size smaller than the previous list. As a result, before we reach a list of size 1, we can make n 1 nested calls. The call tree is therefore a linear sequence of n 1 nested calls.

Review of the best-case scenario

In the most balanced case, we divide the list into two approximately identical parts each time we partition it. This means that each recursive call processes a half-sized array. As a result, before we cross a list of size 1, we can only make log2 n nested calls. This implies that the call tree’s depth is log2 n. However, no two calls at the same level of the call tree process the same part of the original list, because each level of calls takes only O(n) time in total (each call has some constant overhead, but since there are only O(n) calls at each level, this is absorbed into the O(n) factor). As a consequence, the algorithm just takes O(n log n) time.

An examination of the worst-case scenario

Quicksort takes O(n log n) time in expectation to sort an array of n distinct elements, averaged over all n! permutations of n elements with equal probability. We present three common proofs for this argument, each of which provides different insights into quicksort’s operation.

The Benefits

• It is in-place since it uses only a small auxiliary stack and sorts n objects in n (log n) seconds.

• Because this algorithm has been subjected to a rigorous mathematical analysis, it is possible to make very detailed claims about performance issues.

Consequences and uses

• It’s a recursive feature. The implementation is extremely difficult, particularly if recursion is not possible.

• The sorting algorithm is used for information retrieval, and since Quicksort is the quickest algorithm, it is generally regarded as a superior method of retrieval.

• It is used anywhere where a stable sort is not needed, and since Quicksort is the fastest algorithm, it is commonly used as a better way of searching.

• When used for arrays, Quicksort has a decent locality of reference, making it a cache-friendly algorithm.

• Since it is tail-recursive, all call optimization can be achieved.

• It’s an in-place sort that doesn’t necessitate any additional memory.

• It’s used in event-driven modelling and organisational analysis.

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