A video showing sorting algorithms in action may not sound like the most riveting concept in the world — but, then again, neither does watching other people play video games or unboxing gadgets you don’t own, and that hasn’t stopped their popularity online.
In fact, “15 Sorting Algorithms in 6 Minutes” — created by Timo Bingmann, a PhD student at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology — is one of the most weirdly hypnotic viewing experiences you’ll find; with something almost trance-inducing about watching the algorithms work their organizing magic on a variety of data sets.
“Efficiency of algorithms is of great importance in the era of Big Data,” Peter Flach, author of Machine Learning: The Art and Science of Algorithms That Make Sense of Data, tells Digital Trends.
Sorting algorithms are an important part of undergraduate computer courses, used to teach theoretical computer science and algorithm analysis. The algorithms on display in this video include selection sort, insertion sort, quick sort, merge sort, heap sort, radix sort (LSD), radix sort (MSD), std::sort (intro sort), std::stable_sort (adaptive merge sort), shell sort, bubble sort, cocktail shaker sort, gnome sort, bitonic sort and bogo sort.
“Computer scientists use sorting algorithms as an example in computational complexity theory, which offers an abstract notion of algorithmic scalability,” Flach continues. “The computational complexity of sorting algorithms is by now well-understood, but videos like this one are great tools to bring the topic alive for students.”
It’s not just students who find them interesting, however.
“[The videos I’ve created] plainly present sorting algorithms which are actually a boring part of basic computer science courses,” creator Timo Bingman tells Digital Trends. “But with the moving visuals and fun audio the videos deliver a rare insight into how algorithms and computers in general work. Their captivating non-verbal message of how to systematically create order from chaos in so many sophisticated and different ways seems to have a universal appeal.”
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves!