What is bucket sort

A bucket sort refers to a comparison-based code-centric data sorting approach that utilizes a bucket array to organize numerical values contained in a list into a value-defined order. In simpler terms, this comparison-based computer sorting algorithm uses a series of code-defined value containers (buckets) to arrange a list of random data values into an ascending/descending order.

Notably, the code-centric nature of this data sorting approach necessitates having advanced familiarity with an analysis-capable programming language like Python. However, no coding skills are necessary when seeking knowledge of a bucket sort’s operating principles and application.

Bucket Sorting Algorithm Essentials 

Understanding the working and use of a bucket sort requires learning the specific code-defined task execution sequence at the core of a Bucket Sort Algorithm. This coding sequence defines how random numerical data is manipulated to achieve the final ordered list and has three main steps, namely:

Sorting items into Buckets

The total range of values in a list of items to be sorted is split up into multiple small buckets that accommodate a narrow range of values. The code implementation entails mapping an element array(i.e., data items in a list) to a sequence of buckets(i.e., containers that hold list items based on numerical value).

This mapping ensures that a minimum array element(i.e., list-item with the lowest value) winds up in the first bucket. A maximum array element (i.e., list-item with the highest value) ends in the last bucket. The successful completion of this stage is marked by a uniform distribution of all numerical data items in a list amongst individual buckets.

For example, in a hypothetical data item list with 20 items( i.e., 17, 79, 35, 41, 27, 59, 61, 73, 84, 91, 32, 47, 50, 65, 81, 18, 33, 29, 54, and 66), a suitable series of 9 buckets is obtained using a narrow numerical range of 10, i.e., 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, and 90-99.

After mapping, corresponding list-item constitution for each bucket thus becomes: 10-19(17,18), 20-29(27, 29), 30-39(35, 32, 33), 40-49(41,47) 50-59(59, 50, 54), 60-69(61, 65,66), 70-79(79, 73), 80-89(84, 81), and 90-99(91).

Sorting Items within a Bucket

Once list items are in their corresponding buckets, an insertion algorithm organizes the items in a bucket into an ascending/descending order. For instance, applying a insertion sorting algorithm to the hypothetical bucket sort example above gives: 10-19(17,18), 20-29(27, 29), 30-39(32, 33, 35), 40-49(41,47) 50-59(50, 54, 59), 60-69(61, 65, 66), 70-79(73, 79), 80-89(81, 84), and 90-99(91).

Merging Buckets to Obtain List

The last step in a bucket sort involves merging the contents of the buckets while retaining the defined order of items within each bucket. This sequential retrieval of items from each bucket and compiling them into the final sorted list gives the following final item list: 17, 18, 27, 29, 32, 33, 35, 41, 47, 50, 54, 59, 61, 65, 66, 73, 79, 81, 84, 91.

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