Length of strings for a merge sort

@article{Knuth1963LengthOS,
  title={Length of strings for a merge sort},
  author={Donald E. Knuth},
  journal={Commun. ACM},
  year={1963},
  volume={6},
  pages={685-688}
}
Detailed statistics are given on the length of maximal sorted strings which result from the first (internal sort) phase of a merge sort onto tapes. It is shown that the strings produced by an alternating method (i.e. one which produces ascending and descending strings alternately) tend to be only three-fourths as long as those in a method which produces only ascending strings, contrary to statements which have appeared previously in the literature. A slight modification of the read-backward… CONTINUE READING