# Comparing Bubble and Bucket Sorting Algorithms

Published on Friday, August 11, 2023

Imagine you’re building an app and need to sort a massive list of data – maybe product prices, customer names, or high scores. Choosing the right sorting algorithm can make a huge difference in performance. Today, we’ll pit two popular contenders against each other: **bubble** and **bucket**.

Before we dive into the code, let’s briefly explore the basics of both algorithms. If you’re eager to see the action, feel free to jump straight to the code comparison here.

*Bubble* Sort

The best fact about the bubble sorting algorithm is, arguably, the speculation on when it was invented. It was first described in *1955* (published *1956*) by **Edward Harry Friend**, he called this a *sorting exchange algorithm*. This went unnoticed for years, until **Kenneth E. Iverson** found it in *1962* and coined the name `Bubble`

sort.

The worst-case performance of this is $O(n^2)$.

**The Bubble Sort** is a simple, yet often inefficient, sorting algorithm. It’s a classic choice for beginners due to its straightforward logic, but it’s not the best option for large datasets.

### A Brief History

The bubble sort was first described in 1955 (published in 1956) by Edward Harry Friend, who referred to it as a “sorting exchange algorithm.” However, it remained relatively unknown until Kenneth E. Iverson rediscovered it in 1962 and coined the name “Bubble Sort.”

### How It Works

The bubble sort works by repeatedly stepping through the list, comparing adjacent pairs of elements and swapping them if they are in the wrong order. This process is repeated until no swaps are needed, indicating that the list is sorted.

### Time Complexity

The worst-case time complexity of the bubble sort is **O(n^2)**, which means it’s not suitable for large datasets. In the best case, when the list is already sorted, the bubble sort has a time complexity of **O(n)**. However, this is rare in practice.

### Advantages and Disadvantages

**Advantages:**

- Simple to understand and implement
- Can be useful for small datasets or nearly sorted lists

**Disadvantages:**

- Inefficient for large datasets
- Slow compared to other sorting algorithms

### When to Use Bubble Sort

While bubble sort is not the most efficient sorting algorithm, it can be a good choice for:

**Small datasets:**When the number of elements is small, the overhead of more complex algorithms might not be justified.**Nearly sorted lists:**If the list is almost sorted, bubble sort can be efficient.**Educational purposes:**It’s a good algorithm to learn from due to its simplicity.

*Bucket* Sort

**Bucket Sort**, also known as **Bin Sort**, is a sorting algorithm that’s particularly efficient when dealing with data that’s uniformly distributed. It leverages a clever technique called **Scatter-Gather** to divide and conquer the sorting process.

### How It Works

**Create Buckets:**Determine the number of buckets needed based on the range of values in the input array.**Scatter:**Distribute elements from the input array into the appropriate buckets based on their values.**Sort Buckets:**Sort each individual bucket using a suitable sorting algorithm (often insertion sort).**Gather:**Concatenate the sorted buckets to form the final sorted array.

### Time Complexity

The time complexity of bucket sort depends on the distribution of the input data and the choice of sorting algorithm used for the buckets.

In the worst case, when all elements end up in the same bucket, bucket sort degenerates to $O(n^2)$. This can happen when the data is not uniformly distributed or when the number of buckets is too small.

### Advantages and Disadvantages

**Advantages:**

- Efficient for uniformly distributed data
- Can be faster than comparison-based sorting algorithms in the best case
- Can be implemented in-place

**Disadvantages:**

- Less efficient for non-uniform data
- Requires knowledge of the data distribution
- May not be suitable for all types of data

### When to Use Bucket Sort

Bucket sort is a good choice for:

**Uniformly distributed data:**When you know that the data is evenly spread across a certain range.**Large datasets:**It can be faster than comparison-based sorting algorithms for large, uniformly distributed datasets.**Applications where space efficiency is important:**Bucket sort can be implemented in-place, reducing memory usage.

**In conclusion,** bucket sort is a valuable sorting algorithm that can be very efficient for certain types of data. Understanding its strengths and limitations can help you make informed decisions when choosing a sorting algorithm for your specific use case.

## The Clash

We put both algorithms to the test with a battlefield of 3500 random numbers. Now, let’s see who emerges victorious!

Now that we have some data to test on, we want to add the algorithm for the **bubble sort**. This goes as follows.

And of course the **bucket sort** as well, otherwise we won’t have anything to compare against.

Now, let’s test the two against one another.

### Delve deeper:

For even more sorting options, explore our collection of sorting algorithms. Want to get your hands dirty with the code? Head over to **bubble sort VS. bucket sort Implementation**.

## The Winner

Brace yourselves! The benchmark revealed that the **bucket sort** is a staggering **14.02x** faster than its competitor! That translates to running the bucket sort almost 15 times in the time it takes the bubble sort to complete once!

### The A.I. Nicknames the Winners:

We consulted a top-notch AI to give our champion a superhero nickname. From this day forward, the **bucket sort** shall be known as ** The Bucket Wrangler**! The bubble sort, while valiant, deserves recognition too. We present to you,

**!**

*The Bubble Buster*### The Choice is Yours, Young Padawan

So, does this mean the bucket sort is the undisputed king of all sorting algorithms? Not necessarily. Different algorithms have their own strengths and weaknesses. But understanding their efficiency (which you can learn more about in the Big-O Notation post) helps you choose the best tool for the job!

This vast world of sorting algorithms holds countless possibilities. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover the next champion with lightning speed or memory-saving magic!

This showdown hopefully shed light on the contrasting speeds of *bubble* and *bucket* sorting algorithms. Stay tuned for more algorithm explorations on the blog.