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In this paper, we restrict the word sorting to mean the ordering of data by a digital computer. Given a collection of data entries and an ordering key, various processes can be invoked to arrange the entries into a desired order. The order is commonly an ascending or descending numerical or alphabetic sequence, but other orders are possible. At one time, the meaning of the word sorting was limited to the process of pigeon-hole classification, whereas the words “re-arranging” or “ordering” carried the broader meaning. More recently, however, sorting has come to include all techniques for the ordered arrangement of data.
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