Sorting Networks

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Beat the Clock

To make computers go faster, it can be a lot more effective to have several slower computers working on a problem than a single fast one. This raises questions about how much of the computation can be done at the same time.

Here we use a fun team activity to demonstrate an approach to parallel sorting. It can be done on paper, but we like to get students to do it on a large scale, running from node to node in the network.

Videos 
Photos 
  • Photos from Computer Science camps for children aged 8-12, run by Mark Laprairie

    Photos from Computer Science camps for children aged 8-12, run by Mark Laprairie of the University of Regina.

  • Students in New Zealand run the sorting network outdoors.

    Students in New Zealand run the sorting network outdoors.

  • Sorting networks can also be set up as a board game if there's not enough space

    Sorting networks can also be set up as a board game if there's not enough space to run around.

  • Tim guides students in Sorting Networks activity, UOC, Christchurch, 17-18.04.20

    Tim guides students in Sorting Networks activity, UOC, Christchurch, 17-18.04.2008

  • Prof Wada with students, Informatics Education Symposium 2010, Osaka, Japan

    Prof Wada with students, Informatics Education Symposium 2010, Osaka, Japan

  • A 9 year old prepares the Sorting Network Activity with Michele Fini, Italy

    A 9 year old prepares the Sorting Network Activity with Michele Fini, Italy

  • Sorting Network Activity with 11 & 12 year olds, Michele Fini, Italy, 2010

    Sorting Network Activity with 11 & 12 year olds, Michele Fini, Italy, 2010

  • Fujitsu's Kid's Event CSU Workshop, Tokyo, August 2010

    Fujitsu's Kid's Event CSU Workshop, Tokyo, August 2010

  • Fujitsu's Kid's Event CSU Workshop, Tokyo, August 2010

    Fujitsu's Kid's Event CSU Workshop, Tokyo, August 2010

  • Sorting Networks on Stairs - Charlie McDowell Univ. of Calif. Santa Cruz

    Sorting Networks on Stairs - Charlie McDowell Univ. of Calif. Santa Cruz

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