A novel sorting animation: permuting picture pixels

Abstract

Algorithm animation has a long history in CS education, and in this paper we describe a novel way to animate basic sorting routines. The idea is to scramble the pixels of a picture, and then use a sorting routine to unscramble them. The resulting animation of moving pixels is both enjoyable to watch, and provides enough clues to figure out what algorithm is doing the unscrambling. We have used this as a class activity in numerous data structures and algorithms courses to test students understanding of different sorting algorithms. In addition to describing how our animation technique works and is implemented we also discuss some of the related work in the field of algorithm visualization, and the importance of student engagement in such visualizations.

DOI: 10.1145/1536274.1536285

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Edgar2009ANS, title={A novel sorting animation: permuting picture pixels}, author={John Edgar and Toby Donaldson}, year={2009} }