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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
References in classic literature ?
His companion only gave a sort of a little sigh and was silent for a moment, as if ruminating, then he merely said, "The poor fellow is quite gone," and added some scientific terms in which his auditor once more found himself out of his depth.
Then, as if sincerely repentant of his nonchalance, he added, with a sort of enthusiasm:
"I will give the afternoon to that sort of people," he said.
He had discovered in this affair a delicate and perplexing side, forcing upon the discoverer a certain amount of insincerity - that sort of insincerity which, under the names of skill, prudence, discretion, turns up at one point or another in most human affairs.
"This by itself is enough for us to go upon, sir, with that sort of man," said the Chief Inspector, with returning composure.
There you are to the life: a deep subtle sort of thinker with his fore-finger on the page, while Saint Bonaventure or somebody else, rather fat and florid, is looking up at the Trinity.
But there is another sort of character who will narrate anything, and, the worse lie is, the more unscrupulous he will be; nothing will be too bad for him: and he will be ready to imitate anything, not as a joke, but in right good earnest, and before a large company.
since my rebuff of yesterday I have a sort of empty feeling.
But before I made it, in a sort of desperation, I pressed a long kiss into the hollow of her throat.
"I was just going to see Miss Tuxton home," he says, sort of wistful.
Everyone's looking at Jerry, 'specially me, wondering what next, and trying to get their breath, and Jerry's frowning at the cold beef, and there's a sort of awkward pause.
Two days after I had talked in this well-meaning sort of way, the whole trouble began.