Mackenzie Mackenzie - 7 months ago 35
Java Question

Using quicksort on a string array

I'm a programming student and rather than post the whole assignment I'll just ask for help solving what I've tried for hours now to understand. I'm tasked with sorting an array of strings using the quicksort method. Everything else I've been tasked with as part of this problem is fine but when I tested the sorting method by printing out the String Array, it's completely jumbled up without any seeming rhyme or reason. Please help me pinpoint the error in my code, or the several glaring errors I've overlooked. The array of strings provided is this list of 65 names: http://pastebin.com/jRrgeV1E and the method's code is below:

private static void quickSort(String[] a, int start, int end)
{
// index for the "left-to-right scan"
int i = start;
// index for the "right-to-left scan"
int j = end;

// only examine arrays of 2 or more elements.
if (j - i >= 1)
{
// The pivot point of the sort method is arbitrarily set to the first element int the array.
String pivot = a[i];
// only scan between the two indexes, until they meet.
while (j > i)
{
// from the left, if the current element is lexicographically less than the (original)
// first element in the String array, move on. Stop advancing the counter when we reach
// the right or an element that is lexicographically greater than the pivot String.
while (a[i].compareTo(pivot) < 0 && i <= end && j > i){
i++;
}
// from the right, if the current element is lexicographically greater than the (original)
// first element in the String array, move on. Stop advancing the counter when we reach
// the left or an element that is lexicographically less than the pivot String.
while (a[j].compareTo(pivot) > 0 && j >= start && j >= i){
j--;
}
// check the two elements in the center, the last comparison before the scans cross.
if (j > i)
swap(a, i, j);
}
// At this point, the two scans have crossed each other in the center of the array and stop.
// The left partition and right partition contain the right groups of numbers but are not
// sorted themselves. The following recursive code sorts the left and right partitions.

// Swap the pivot point with the last element of the left partition.
swap(a, start, j);
// sort left partition
quickSort(a, start, j - 1);
// sort right partition
quickSort(a, j + 1, end);
}
}
/**
* This method facilitates the quickSort method's need to swap two elements, Towers of Hanoi style.
*/
private static void swap(String[] a, int i, int j)
{
String temp = a[i];
a[i] = a[j];
a[j] = temp;
}

Answer

Ok, i was mistaken that it would work and found your tiny mistake.

Take a look at wikipedias pseudo code

You will notice that your conditions in the while loop are causing the error

if you change (a[i].compareTo(pivot) < 0 && i <= end && j > i) and (a[j].compareTo(pivot) > 0 && j >= start && j >= i) to

(a[i].compareTo(pivot) <= 0 && i < end && j > i) and (a[j].compareTo(pivot) >= 0 && j > start && j >= i).

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