External sorting is a term for a class of sorting algorithms that can handle massive amounts of data. External sorting is required when the data being sorted do not fit into the main memory of a computing device (usually RAM) and instead they must reside in the slower external memory (usually a hard drive). External sorting typically uses a sort-merge strategy. In the sorting phase, chunks of data small enough to fit in main memory are read, sorted, and written out to a temporary file. In the merge phase, the sorted subfiles are combined into a single larger file.
... External merge sort is not the only external sorting algorithm there are also distribution sorts, which work by partitioning the unsorted values into smaller "buckets" that can ... Like merge sort, external distribution sort also has a main-memory sibling see bucket sort ... merge- and distribution-based algorithms that can aid in thinking about sorting and other external memory algorithms ...
Famous quotes containing the word external:
“It can be fairly argued that the highest priority for mankind is to save itself from extinction. However, it can also be argued that a society that neglects its children and robs them of their human potential can extinguish itself without an external enemy.”
—Selma Fraiberg (20th century)