Question: What is the quickest sorting method to use?
Answer :The answer depends on what you mean by quickest. For most sorting problems, it just doesn’t matter how quick the sort is because it is done infrequently or other operations take significantly more time anyway. Even in cases in which sorting speed is of the essence, there is no one answer. It depends on not only the size and nature of the data, but also the likely order. No algorithm is best in all cases.
There are three sorting methods in this author’s “toolbox” that are all very fast and that are useful in different situations. Those methods are quick sort, merge sort, and radix sort.
The Quick Sort:-
The quick sort algorithm is of the “divide and conquer” type. That means it works by reducing a sorting problem into several easier sorting problems and solving each of them. A “dividing” value is chosen from the input data, and the data is partitioned into three sets: elements that belong before the dividing value, the value itself, and elements that come after the dividing value. The partitioning is performed by exchanging elements that are in the first set but belong in the third with elements that are in the third set but belong in the first Elements that are equal to the dividing element can be put in any of the three sets—the algorithm will still work properly.
The Merge Sort:-
The merge sort is a “divide and conquer” sort as well. It works by considering the data to be sorted as a sequence of already-sorted lists (in the worst case, each list is one element long). Adjacent sorted lists are merged into larger sorted lists until there is a single sorted list containing all the elements. The merge sort is good at sorting lists and other data structures that are not in arrays, and it can be used to sort things that don’t fit into memory. It also can be implemented as a stable sort.
The Radix Sort:-
The radix sort takes a list of integers and puts each element on a smaller list, depending on the value of its least significant byte. Then the small lists are concatenated, and the process is repeated for each more significant byte until the list is sorted. The radix sort is simpler to implement on fixed-length data such as ints.
Question :What is the easiest sorting method to use?
Answer :The answer is the standard library function qsort(). It’s the easiest sort by far for several reasons:
It is already written.
It is already debugged.
It has been optimized as much as possible (usually).
Void qsort(void *buf, size_t num, size_t size, int (*comp)(const void *ele1, const void *ele2));
Question: What is the benefit of using const for declaring constants?
Answer: The benefit of using the const keyword is that the compiler might be able to make optimizations based on the knowledge that the value of the variable will not change. In addition, the compiler will try to ensure that the values won’t be changed inadvertently.
Of course, the same benefits apply to #defined constants. The reason to use const rather than #define to define a constant is that a const variable can be of any type (such as a struct, which can’t be represented by a #defined constant). Also, because a const variable is a real variable, it has an address that can be used, if needed, and it resides in only one place in memory
Question: Can static variables be declared in a header file?
Answer: You can’t declare a static variable without defining it as well (this is because the storage class modifiers
static and extern are mutually exclusive). A static variable can be defined in a header file, but this would cause each source file that included the header file to have its own private copy of the variable, which is probably not what was intended.
Question: Is it acceptable to declare/define a variable in a C header?
Answer :A global variable that must be accessed from more than one file can and should be declared in a header file. In addition, such a variable must be defined in one source file.
Variables should not be defined in header files, because the header file can be included in multiple source files, which would cause multiple definitions of the variable. The ANSI C standard will allow multiple external definitions, provided that there is only one initialization. But because there’s really no advantage to using this feature, it’s probably best to avoid it and maintain a higher level of portability.
“Global” variables that do not have to be accessed from more than one file should be declared static and
should not appear in a header file.
Question :When should a type cast be used?
Answer : There are two situations in which to use a type cast. The first use is to change the type of an operand to an arithmetic operation so that the operation will be performed properly.
The second case is to cast pointer types to and from void * in order to interface with functions that expect or return void pointers. For example, the following line type casts the return value of the call to malloc() to be a pointer to a foo structure.
struct foo *p = (struct foo *) malloc(sizeof(struct foo));
Question: How can you determine the maximum value that a numeric variable can hold?
Answer : For integral types, on a machine that uses two’s complement arithmetic (which is just about any machine you’re likely to use), a signed type can hold numbers from –2(number of bits – 1) to +2(number of bits – 1) – 1. An unsigned type can hold values from 0 to +2(number of bits) – 1. For instance, a 16-bit signed integer can hold numbers from –2^15 (–32768) to +2^15 – 1 (32767).
Question :Can a variable be both const and volatile?
Answer : Yes. The const modifier means that this code cannot change the value of the variable, but that does not mean that the value cannot be changed by means outside this code. For instance, in the example in FAQ 8, the timer structure was accessed through a volatile const pointer. The function itself did not change the value of the timer, so it was declared const. However, the value was changed by hardware on the computer, so it was declared volatile. If a variable is both const and volatile, the two modifiers can appear in either order.
Question: when should the volatile modifier be used?
Answer : The volatile modifier is a directive to the compiler’s optimizer that operations involving this variable should not be optimized in certain ways. There are two special cases in which use of the volatile modifier is desirable. The first case involves memory-mapped hardware (a device such as a graphics adaptor that appears to the computer’s hardware as if it were part of the computer’s memory), and the second involves shared memory (memory used by two or more programs running simultaneously).
Most computers have a set of registers that can be accessed faster than the computer’s main memory. A good compiler will perform a kind of optimization called “redundant load and store removal.” The compiler looks for places in the code where it can either remove an instruction to load data from memory because the value is already in a register, or remove an instruction to store data to memory because the value can stay in a register until it is changed again anyway.
If a variable is a pointer to something other than normal memory, such as memory-mapped ports on a peripheral, redundant load and store optimizations might be detrimental. For instance, here’s a piece of code that might be used to time some operation:
time_t time_addition(volatile const struct timer *t, int a)
x = 0;
then = t->value;
for (n = 0; n < 1000; n++)
x = x + a;
return t->value - then;
In this code, the variable t->value is actually a hardware counter that is being incremented as time passes. The function adds the value of a to x 1000 times, and it returns the amount the timer was incremented by while the 1000 additions were being performed. Without the volatile modifier, a clever optimizer might assume that the value of t does not change during the execution of the function, because there is no statement that explicitly changes it. In that case, there’s no need to read it from memory a second time and subtract it, because the answer will always be 0. The compiler might therefore “optimize” the function by making it always return 0.
If a variable points to data in shared memory, you also don’t want the compiler to perform redundant load and store optimizations. Shared memory is normally used to enable two programs to communicate with each other by having one program store data in the shared portion of memory and the other program read the same portion of memory. If the compiler optimizes away a load or store of shared memory, communication between the two programs will be affected.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Question: What is the quickest sorting method to use?