Cannon Cannon - 1 month ago 8
C# Question

Fastest way to check if an array is sorted

Considering there is an array returned from a function which is of very large size.

What will be the

fastest
approach to test if the array is sorted?

A simplest approach will be:

/// <summary>
/// Determines if int array is sorted from 0 -> Max
/// </summary>
public static bool IsSorted(int[] arr)
{
for (int i = 1; i < arr.Length; i++)
{
if (arr[i - 1] > arr[i])
{
return false;
}
}
return true;
}

Answer

You will have to visit each element of the array to see if anything is unsorted.

Your O(n) approach is about as fast as it gets, without any special knowledge about the likely state of the array.

Your code specifically tests if the array is sorted with smaller values at lower indices. If that is not what you intend, your if becomes slightly more complex. Your code comment does suggest that is what you're after.

If you were to have special knowledge of the probable state (say, you know it's generally sorted but new data might be added to the end), you can optimize the order in which you visit array elements to allow the test to fail faster when the array is unsorted.

You can leverage knowledge of the hardware architecture to check multiple parts of the array in parallel by partitioning the array, first comparing the boundaries of the partition (fail fast check) and then running one array partition per core on a separate thread (no more than 1 thread per CPU core). Note though that if a array partition is much smaller than the size of a cache line, the threads will tend to compete with each other for access to the memory containing the array. Multithreading will only be very efficient for fairly large arrays.