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Mastering Bubble Sort in C: From Basic Concepts to Efficient Implementation

Table of Contents

Bubble Sort is a fundamental sorting algorithm in computer programming, well-known for its simplicity and ease of understanding. In this article, we will dive into the inner workings of Bubble Sort, how it is implemented in the C programming language, and discuss its performance implications.

Understanding Bubble Sort

Basic Concept

Bubble Sort is a comparison-based algorithm that repeatedly steps through the list to be sorted, compares adjacent elements, and swaps them if they are in the wrong order. The process is repeated until the list is sorted.

How It Works

  1. Starting at the Beginning: The algorithm begins at the start of the array.
  2. Pairwise Comparisons: Each pair of adjacent elements is compared.
  3. Swapping Elements: If an element is greater than the one next to it (for ascending order), they are swapped.
  4. Repeat: This process continues for each pair of adjacent elements, moving towards the end of the list.
  5. Iterating Through the List: The above steps are repeated, each time ignoring the last sorted elements.

The Bubble-Up Effect

The largest element “bubbles up” to its correct position at the end of the list in each iteration, hence the name Bubble Sort.

Implementing Bubble Sort in C

Here is a basic implementation of Bubble Sort in C:

#include <stdio.h>

void bubbleSort(int arr[], int n) {
    int i, j, temp;
    for (i = 0; i < n-1; i++) {     
        for (j = 0; j < n-i-1; j++) {
            if (arr[j] > arr[j+1]) {
                temp = arr[j];
                arr[j] = arr[j+1];
                arr[j+1] = temp;
            }
        }
    }
}

int main() {
    int arr[] = {64, 34, 25, 12, 22, 11, 90};
    int n = sizeof(arr)/sizeof(arr[0]);
    bubbleSort(arr, n);
    printf("Sorted array: \n");
    for (int i = 0; i < n; i++)
        printf("%d ", arr[i]);
    printf("\n");
    return 0;
}

Performance Analysis

Time Complexity

Bubble Sort has a time complexity of O(n^2) in the average and worst-case scenarios, making it inefficient for large datasets.

Space Complexity

It has a space complexity of O(1), as it requires only a constant amount of additional memory space.

Conclusion

While Bubble Sort is not efficient for large datasets, its simplicity makes it a valuable educational tool for understanding sorting algorithms. Its implementation in C showcases basic array manipulation and control structures, fundamental in programming.

Anand Das

Anand Das

Anand is Co-founder and CTO of Bito. He leads technical strategy and engineering, and is our biggest user! Formerly, Anand was CTO of Eyeota, a data company acquired by Dun & Bradstreet. He is co-founder of PubMatic, where he led the building of an ad exchange system that handles over 1 Trillion bids per day.

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