In every decent programmer’s toolbox lies a strange weapon called a Radix Sort. Where does it come from ? Who invented it ? I don’t know. As far as I can remember it was there, fast, easy, effective. Really effective. So unbelievably useful I’ve never really understood why people would want to use something else. The reasons ? Most of the time, they tell me about floats, negative values, and why their new quick-sort code rocks.

Enough, I’m tired. Although the standard Radix Sort doesn’t work very well with floating point values, this is something actually very easy to fix. In this little article I will review the standard Radix Sort algorithm, and enhance it so that :

  • it sorts negative floats as well
  • it has reduced complexity for bytes and words
  • it uses temporal coherence
  • it supports sorting on multiple keys

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