sort

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sort

[sȯrt]
(computer science)
To rearrange a set of data items into a new sequence, governed by specific rules of precedence.
The program designed to perform this activity.

sort

(application, algorithm)
To arrange a collection of items in some specified order. The items - records in a file or data structures in memory - consist of one or more fields or members. One of these fields is designated as the "sort key" which means the records will be ordered according to the value of that field. Sometimes a sequence of key fields is specified such that if all earlier keys are equal then the later keys will be compared. Within each field some ordering is imposed, e.g. ascending or descending numerical, lexical ordering, or date.

Sorting is the subject of a great deal of study since it is a common operation which can consume a lot of computer time. There are many well-known sorting algorithms with different time and space behaviour and programming complexity.

Examples are quicksort, insertion sort, bubble sort, heap sort, and tree sort. These employ many different data structures to store sorted data, such as arrays, linked lists, and binary trees.

sort

(tool)
The Unix utility program for sorting lines of files.

Unix manual page: sort(1).

sort

(1) To reorder data into a new sequence. See sorter, counting sort, bubble sort, quick sort and selection sort.


A Punch Card Sorter in 1917
Cards were sorted one digit at a time (a 10-digit account number required 10 passes). A great year to have bought stock. (Image courtesy of IBM.)






(2) An external DOS/Windows command that sorts a text file into alphabetical order, providing the text columns are uniform. The following example sorts the text file 1.TXT (starting at character position 1), creating 2.TXT. The < means "input from," and the > means "output to."
sort < 1.txt > 2.txt      a to z
  sort < 1.txt > 2.txt /r   z to a


SORT ON A MIDDLE COLUMN
If city begins in character position 60 in 1.TXT, the following examples create 2.TXT in city sequence:
sort /+60 < 1.txt > 2.txt      a to z
  sort /+60 < 1.txt > 2.txt /r   z to a