Computer Science II
David B. Levine
Computer Science Department
St. Bonaventure University
"I had the spots removed for luck; fortunately I remember
where the spots formerly was." - Nathan Detroit, Guys and Dolls
The primary objective of this lab is
for you to apply your theoretical knowledge of sorting algorithms to solve a
problem of poor user interface design. More specifically, you will be
given a program which is designed to measure comparisons, data movements, and
execution time for the seven sorting algorithms discussed in class.
Unfortunately, the designer of the program did not label the buttons
properly. You must apply your understanding of the general properties of
the algorithms (and in some cases of the code used to implement them) to
determine the proper labeling of the buttons.
The secondary objective of this lab is for you to gain experience writing a
concise, but complete analysis of a system.
As you know from class, if you double
the size of the data set that you give to a quadratic algorithm, it will do four
times the work; by contrast, an O(NlogN) algorithm will do a bit more than twice
as much; and, a linear algorithm will do only twice as much work. As you
also know, the characteristics of the input data set can affect the expected
performance of many of our sorting algorithms. Before you begin the lab,
you should review the expected performance of the algorithms on various data
The sorting algorithms under study
this week include (in alphabetical order): bubbleSort, heapSort, insertionSort,
mergeSort, quickSort, selectionSort, and shellSort.
- Warning: read all of the instructions before beginning!
Begin by copying the SortDetective application from the
server. Execute it and play with it a bit. Notice that the
button names do not give any indication which sort they will execute.
Notice also, that if you create a small list, then that list is shown to you
in the console window. In the unlikely event that a sort fails
(oops!), a message will appear there as well.
Devise a plan which will enable you to match the particular
algorithms to the button names. Hint: It may make sense to try
to divide the sorts into initial groups and then to work on each group
separately. Divide and conquer: it works for algorithms and it can
work here, too!
Execute your plan, taking careful notes as you go.
Describe the results of your experiment in a summary
document. Begin with a summary of the matching and then show the
rationalization process that justifies it. A sample from a similar
(but much simpler) lab on searching can be seen here.
A Note on Writing
is no coding in this lab. Thus, you should expect that a significant
portion of the lab grade for this lab will be determined by the quality of the
writing of the report. This
includes the completeness of the report, the clarity (and grammar) of the
writing, and general presentation. In the past, some students who matched
all seven sorts correctly have received poor grades due to sloppy writing. Don't
be one of them!
Some of the sorts are very difficult to
distinguish. A carefully outlined experiment may compensate for an error
in these cases if the writing makes it clear that your conclusions/guesses are
substantiated by the data.
Finally, remember that your report
needn't detail every experiment you ran. Rather, it should give sufficient
information to justify your conclusions. It is possible to write a very
short report that is completely correct if your experiments are
well-chosen. After you learn the matching, you might consider whether
there was a shorter way to arrive at your conclusion!
To Hand In
You need only hand in the final report from Step 4.
Assignment Type (see Academic
Practices and Policies Document):
Group assignment, limited collaboration.