Early versions of Python used a hybrid of samplesort (a variant of quicksort with large sample size) and binary insertion sort as the built-in sorting algorithm. This proved to be somewhat unstable, and was replaced in version 2.3 with an adaptive mergesort algorithm. I am comparing several rudimentary sorting routines, translated to Python from Narue's C code by my friend Micko, with the Python built-in sorting routine. The new Python24 @ function decorator is used to implement the timing.

```
# timing 7 different Python sorting algorithms with a list of integers
# each function is given the same list (fresh copy each time)
# tested with Python24 vegaseat 21jan2006
import random # for generating random numbers
import time # for timing each sort function with time.clock()
DEBUG = False # set True to check results of each sort
N = 1000 # number of elements in list
list1 = [] # list of integer elements
for i in range(0, N):
list1.append(random.randint(0, N-1))
#print list1 # test
def print_timing(func):
def wrapper(*arg):
t1 = time.clock()
res = func(*arg)
t2 = time.clock()
print '%s took %0.3fms' % (func.func_name, (t2-t1)*1000.0)
return res
return wrapper
# declare the @ decorator just above each sort function, invokes print_timing()
@print_timing
def adaptive_merge_sort(list2):
"""adaptive merge sort, built into Python since version 2.3"""
list2.sort()
@print_timing
def bubble_sort(list2):
#swap_test = False
for i in range(0, len(list2) - 1):
# as suggested by kubrick, makes sense
swap_test = False
for j in range(0, len(list2) - i - 1):
if list2[j] > list2[j + 1]:
list2[j], list2[j + 1] = list2[j + 1], list2[j] # swap
swap_test = True
if swap_test == False:
break
# selection sort
@print_timing
def selection_sort(list2):
for i in range(0, len (list2)):
min = i
for j in range(i + 1, len(list2)):
if list2[j] < list2[min]:
min = j
list2[i], list2[min] = list2[min], list2[i] # swap
# insertion sort
@print_timing
def insertion_sort(list2):
for i in range(1, len(list2)):
save = list2[i]
j = i
while j > 0 and list2[j - 1] > save:
list2[j] = list2[j - 1]
j -= 1
list2[j] = save
# quick sort
@print_timing
def quick_sort(list2):
quick_sort_r(list2, 0, len(list2) - 1)
# quick_sort_r, recursive (used by quick_sort)
def quick_sort_r(list2 , first, last):
if last > first:
pivot = partition(list2, first, last)
quick_sort_r(list2, first, pivot - 1)
quick_sort_r(list2, pivot + 1, last)
# partition (used by quick_sort_r)
def partition(list2, first, last):
sred = (first + last)/2
if list2[first] > list2 [sred]:
list2[first], list2[sred] = list2[sred], list2[first] # swap
if list2[first] > list2 [last]:
list2[first], list2[last] = list2[last], list2[first] # swap
if list2[sred] > list2[last]:
list2[sred], list2[last] = list2[last], list2[sred] # swap
list2 [sred], list2 [first] = list2[first], list2[sred] # swap
pivot = first
i = first + 1
j = last
while True:
while i <= last and list2[i] <= list2[pivot]:
i += 1
while j >= first and list2[j] > list2[pivot]:
j -= 1
if i >= j:
break
else:
list2[i], list2[j] = list2[j], list2[i] # swap
list2[j], list2[pivot] = list2[pivot], list2[j] # swap
return j
# heap sort
@print_timing
def heap_sort(list2):
first = 0
last = len(list2) - 1
create_heap(list2, first, last)
for i in range(last, first, -1):
list2[i], list2[first] = list2[first], list2[i] # swap
establish_heap_property (list2, first, i - 1)
# create heap (used by heap_sort)
def create_heap(list2, first, last):
i = last/2
while i >= first:
establish_heap_property(list2, i, last)
i -= 1
# establish heap property (used by create_heap)
def establish_heap_property(list2, first, last):
while 2 * first + 1 <= last:
k = 2 * first + 1
if k < last and list2[k] < list2[k + 1]:
k += 1
if list2[first] >= list2[k]:
break
list2[first], list2[k] = list2[k], list2[first] # swap
first = k
# merge sort
@print_timing
def merge_sort(list2):
merge_sort_r(list2, 0, len(list2) -1)
# merge sort recursive (used by merge_sort)
def merge_sort_r(list2, first, last):
if first < last:
sred = (first + last)/2
merge_sort_r(list2, first, sred)
merge_sort_r(list2, sred + 1, last)
merge(list2, first, last, sred)
# merge (used by merge_sort_r)
def merge(list2, first, last, sred):
helper_list = []
i = first
j = sred + 1
while i <= sred and j <= last:
if list2 [i] <= list2 [j]:
helper_list.append(list2[i])
i += 1
else:
helper_list.append(list2 [j])
j += 1
while i <= sred:
helper_list.append(list2[i])
i +=1
while j <= last:
helper_list.append(list2[j])
j += 1
for k in range(0, last - first + 1):
list2[first + k] = helper_list [k]
# test sorted list by printing the first 10 elements
def print10(list2):
for k in range(10):
print list2[k],
print
# run test if script is executed
if __name__ == "__main__" :
print "timing 7 sorting algorithms with a list of 1000 integers:"
# make a true copy of list1 each time
list2 = list(list1)
adaptive_merge_sort(list2)
if DEBUG:
print10(list2)
list2 = list(list1)
bubble_sort(list2)
if DEBUG:
print10(list2)
list2 = list(list1)
heap_sort(list2)
if DEBUG:
print10(list2)
list2 = list(list1)
insertion_sort(list2)
if DEBUG:
print10(list2)
list2 = list(list1)
merge_sort(list2)
if DEBUG:
print10(list2)
list2 = list(list1)
quick_sort(list2)
if DEBUG:
print10(list2)
list2 = list(list1)
selection_sort(list2)
if DEBUG:
print10(list2)
# final test
list2 = list(list1)
if DEBUG:
print "final test: ",
print10(list2)
#raw_input( "Press Enter to continue..." )
"""
typical results:
timing 7 sorting algorithms with a list of 1000 integers:
adaptive_merge_sort took 0.560ms
bubble_sort took 269.691ms
heap_sort took 13.556ms
insertion_sort took 130.870ms
merge_sort took 19.272ms
quick_sort took 6.849ms
selection_sort took 120.291ms
"""
```

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