CSCI 6620 Program 4: A Radix Sort Using Queues Solved

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1 Goals.
 To implement and use a composite data structure: an array of queues.
 To build your own queue class, not use the C++ STL queue.
 To master an excellent sorting algorithm that is at least half a century old. Wikipedia does not
even give its history.
 To gain some skill with manipulating linked lists.
2 Overview.
A Radix sort1 is the fastest sort for a vary large number of data items2. It is an O(n) sort that works
by using groups of bits from the sort keys rather than by comparing key values to each other. It is the
fastest way to sort a large number of items. However, it does involve considerable setup time and data
structures, and works only with xed-length sort keys. A data item could be any type of object (or
pointer to object) that has one data member that acts as a sort key.
The Radix sort described here is applicable to any large data set in which the key is an unsigned
number, or can be treated like an unsigned number. However, the presentation given here is speci c
to the data set you will be using.
2.1 The Data to Sort
 We will be sorting objects with two data elds: (1) the time (type time_t), a 4-byte unsigned
integer. (2) the temperature, a 4-byte oat.
 The data le will consist of a very large number of time/temperature measurements, recorded in
January at an apartment in Tuckahoe, New York, arranged by time. Here is the rst line from
one of the les: 2016-01-01 00:00:04.039251 1451624404 01948 4.9
As you can see, the elds are (1) date, (2) time, (3) date and time again, as a Unix time_T value,
(4) device number, and (5) temperature in Celsius. So there are ve elds on each line, and you
only need two of those elds: (3) the time_t value and (5) the temperature. When you read the
le, you only need to save those two elds in your data structure.
Further, to sort the temperatures, the Celsius temperature should be converted to Kelvin by
adding 273.15 to the value in the le. Store the Kelvin temperature in your data objects. This
eliminates negative numbers. You will need to subtract the constant before outputting the an-
 There will be three les, one from each of three sensors on di erent sides of the building. You
only need to process one of the les, but di erent people should choose di erent les. Handle le
opening and EOF properly.
2.2 Overview of the Sort
The algorithm divides the sort key into k elds, based on its binary representation and makes k passes
through the entire data list. On pass 0, the least signi cant (rightmost) eld of the key is isolated and
used to assign the data item to a bucket-queue. On pass p, the pth eld is used. At the end of each
1This technique has been in use since the days of punched cards and card-handling machines.
2Google’s map-reduce is based on a Radix sort.
CSCI 6620 Spring 2016: Program 4: A Radix Sort Using Queues 2
pass, all the data is collected again into a single queue, ready for re-distribution. After k passes, the
data is sorted.
This program will make 4 passes, each time using 256 buckets.
 First, all of the data must be read from a le and stored in a Reading object. The diagram shows
the structure of the class and an actual reading object after initialization.
time_t tm float tp
class Reading
1451624404 278.05
Then each reading must be installed in a new cell. Again, there are two diagrams. The rst is
the Cell structure, the second of an initialized Cell object.
time_t time float temp Cell* next
class Cell
1451624404 278.05 nullptr
Then each cell must each be linked onto the end of a queue called the master queue. The diagram
shows the master queue after inserting the rst data cell. (Remember { the queue has a dummy
header cell).
1451624404 278.05 nullptr
0 0
 Finally, data cells will be distributed into buckets. For this purpose, an array of 256 buckets must
be created. Each bucket is a linked queue, initially empty.
 When the data and buckets are ready, sorting begins. The process will work in four passes
(numbered 0, 1, 2, and 3), where each pass consists of a distribute operation (next slide) and a
collect operation.
 After distributing all the data into the buckets. the queues from the buckets must be collected
and joined back into a single master queue.
 At the end of four passes, the data will again be in the master queue, and will be sorted. Output
the sorted data to a le.
 The number of elds in the key determines the number of passes.
 The number of bits in each eld determines the number of buckets needed: for k bits, we need
2k buckets.
 The algorithm is simpler to implement if each eld is a half-byte, a byte, or two bytes, resulting
in 16 or 256 or 35536 queues.
CSCI 6620 Spring 2016: Program 4: A Radix Sort Using Queues 3
Illustration of a radix sort process. In these diagrams, we show a bucket sort of 14 short
integers, written here in hex. We make 4 passes, sorting on one nybble each time. The original data
list is shown on the left:
3 The Radix Sort Algorithm.
3.1 One distribution pass.
Distribute each cell from the master list into a bucket as follows:
 Remove the cell from the front of the master queue (call it currCell).
 Get the temperature out of the Reading that is in the Cell, call it currTemp. Since the temperature
is private in the Reading, and the data eld of the Cell is private in the Cell, you will need to
use get functions.
 CurrTemp is a oat, but you need to do integer operations on it. To do this, you must use a
reinterpret cast. This is a kind of cast that works on pointers, not values. It happens at compile
time, not runtime, and simply changes the type of the object in the compiler’s internal table. It
allows you to copy an object into a variable of the wrong type. It does not change any bits in
the object itself. This function does the conversion:
unsigned long getTempAsUnsigned( float* pCurrTemp )f
return *(unsigned long*) pCurrTemp;
A proper call on it is:
unsigned long currTempAsUns = getTempAsUnsigned( &currTemp);.
 Access one byte of the temperature and use the result as a subscript to select a bucket. Isolate
that byte using shifting and masking. De ne mask = 0xff; to isolate one byte (8 bits).
{ Compute subscript = mask & (currTempAsUns >> n)
where n is 8  k, and k is the pass number.
{ The computed subscript is the number of the bucket to use for this data item.
{ Push currCell onto the selected bucket queue.
CSCI 6620 Spring 2016: Program 4: A Radix Sort Using Queues 4
 In pass k, use the kth byte from the right.
 Attach the cell to the end of the queue in that bucket.
 In this process, the actual sort key is reinterpreted, copied, shifted, and masked, but the changed
value must not ever be stored back into the Reading object.
3.2 Collecting the data into the master queue.
At the end of each distribution pass, your master queue is empty. Now collect all the cells, as follows:
 Find the rst non-empty bucket, (k), in the bucket array.
 Start at bucket k and process buckets, in order, through number 255.
 If the bucket is not empty,
{ Attach the last cell of the master queue to the rst non-dummy cell in the bucket.
{ Set the back pointer of the master list equal to the back pointer of the bucket.
{ All the cells have now been removed from the bucket, so reset it to empty.
3.3 Finishing the Sort.
At the end of the fourth pass, the data is sorted. Now you need to write out the sorted le. Write out
the data in the Reading, but remember that you need to subtract 273.15 from every temperature (to
convert back from Kelvin to Celsius) before writing it out.
Extra credit, 1 point. Write out the data in the same form as when you read it in: with the date
and time in a readable format, then the time_t value, then the device ID number, then the temperature.
You will need the ctime() function from the C time library.
4 Turn in. . .
Your source code with part of your output. It is often dicult or impossible to email very large les.
For that reason, please make a special le for submitting your output. Use a .txt le. It should start
with the rst 50 lines of output from the sorted list and end with the last 50 lines of the sorted list.
Put a dashed divider line between the two parts of the output.