Tim Sort Analysis

Hi everyone, inside this article we will see the concept about Tim Sort Analysis.

Tim Sort is a sorting algorithm that is a hybrid of Merge Sort and Insertion Sort algorithms. It is efficient for sorting large data sets that may contain many elements in sorted or partially sorted order. Tim Sort was developed by Tim Peters in 2002 for use in the Python programming language, but it has since been adopted by other programming languages such as Java, C++, and others.

The algorithm works by dividing the input array into small chunks or subarrays, sorting them using Insertion Sort, and then merging them using Merge Sort. It uses a combination of best-case time complexity of Insertion Sort and worst-case time complexity of Merge Sort, making it an efficient algorithm for real-world applications.

How Algorithm of Tim Sort works?

The basic steps of Tim Sort are as follows:

  1. Divide the input array into small chunks, called “runs”.
  2. Sort the runs using Insertion Sort.
  3. Merge the runs using Merge Sort.

The size of the runs is initially set to a small value, such as 32 or 64, but is dynamically adjusted based on the size of the input array.

Tim Sort uses a technique called “galloping” to speed up the merging process. This technique takes advantage of the fact that the two arrays being merged are already partially sorted, and thus, we can skip some of the unnecessary comparisons in the merging process.

Overall, Tim Sort is an efficient, stable, and adaptive sorting algorithm that performs well on a wide range of data sets, including real-world data with partially sorted or unsorted elements.

Here’s the pseudocode for Tim Sort:

// set the minimum size of run
int MIN_RUN = 32

// define function to calculate minimum run length
function calcMinRun(n)
    r = 0
    while n >= MIN_RUN
        r |= n & 1
        n >>= 1
    return n + r

// define function to insertion sort a section of the array
function insertionSort(arr, left, right)
    for i = left + 1 to right
        temp = arr[i]
        j = i - 1
        while j >= left and arr[j] > temp
            arr[j + 1] = arr[j]
        arr[j + 1] = temp

// define function to merge two sorted runs
function merge(arr, l, m, r)
    len1 = m - l + 1
    len2 = r - m
    left = []
    right = []
    for i = 0 to len1 - 1
        left[i] = arr[l + i]
    for i = 0 to len2 - 1
        right[i] = arr[m + 1 + i]
    i = 0
    j = 0
    k = l
    while i < len1 and j < len2
        if left[i] <= right[j]
            arr[k] = left[i]
            arr[k] = right[j]
    while i < len1
        arr[k] = left[i]
    while j < len2
        arr[k] = right[j]

// define the main timSort function
function timSort(arr)
    n = arr.length
    minRun = calcMinRun(n)
    for i = 0 to n step minRun
        insertionSort(arr, i, min(i + minRun - 1, n - 1))
    size = minRun
    while size < n
        for left = 0 to n step 2 * size
            mid = left + size - 1
            right = min((left + 2 * size - 1), (n-1))
            merge(arr, left, mid, right)
        size *= 2

Note: This pseudocode assumes that the input array is an array of integers. If the input array is an array of other types of objects, the comparisons and assignments would need to be modified accordingly.

Example Code

Sure! Here’s a basic implementation of Tim Sort in C++:

#include <iostream>
#include <vector>
#include <algorithm>

const int RUN = 32; // Size of a run in insertion sort

// Insertion sort function
void insertionSort(std::vector<int> &arr, int left, int right)
  for (int i = left + 1; i <= right; i++)
    int temp = arr[i];
    int j = i - 1;
    while (j >= left && arr[j] > temp)
      arr[j + 1] = arr[j];
    arr[j + 1] = temp;

// Merge function
void merge(std::vector<int> &arr, int left, int mid, int right)
  int len1 = mid - left + 1;
  int len2 = right - mid;
  std::vector<int> leftArr(len1), rightArr(len2);

  for (int i = 0; i < len1; i++)
    leftArr[i] = arr[left + i];
  for (int i = 0; i < len2; i++)
    rightArr[i] = arr[mid + i + 1];

  int i = 0;
  int j = 0;
  int k = left;

  while (i < len1 && j < len2)
    if (leftArr[i] <= rightArr[j])
      arr[k] = leftArr[i];
      arr[k] = rightArr[j];

  while (i < len1)
    arr[k] = leftArr[i];

  while (j < len2)
    arr[k] = rightArr[j];

// Tim Sort function
void timSort(std::vector<int> &arr)
  int n = arr.size();
  for (int i = 0; i < n; i += RUN)
    insertionSort(arr, i, std::min(i + RUN - 1, n - 1));

  for (int size = RUN; size < n; size = 2 * size)
    for (int left = 0; left < n; left += 2 * size)
      int mid = left + size - 1;
      int right = std::min(left + 2 * size - 1, n - 1);
      merge(arr, left, mid, right);

// Main function to test the algorithm
int main()
  std::vector<int> arr = {64, 25, 12, 22, 11};

  std::cout << "Sorted array: ";
  for (auto num : arr)
    std::cout << num << " ";
  std::cout << std::endl;

  return 0;

The above program will output:

Sorted array: 11 12 22 25 64

This program sorts an array of integers using Tim Sort and prints the sorted array. You can modify the array to test the program on different inputs.

Complexity Analysis of Tim Sort

The time complexity of Tim Sort can be analyzed as follows:

  • Best case: O(n), when the input array is already sorted or almost sorted. In this case, the algorithm uses the insertion sort optimization, which takes linear time.
  • Average case: O(n log n), since the algorithm uses a combination of merge sort and insertion sort.
  • Worst case: O(n log n), when the input array is in reverse order. In this case, the algorithm uses the merge sort optimization, which takes log n levels, and each level requires n comparisons.

In terms of space complexity, Tim Sort requires additional memory to store temporary arrays during the merge process. The amount of memory used is proportional to the size of the input array, so the space complexity is O(n).

Overall, Tim Sort is a highly efficient sorting algorithm, with good performance in both the average and worst cases. It also has the advantage of being a stable sorting algorithm, which means that equal elements in the input array maintain their relative order in the sorted output.

Where is the Tim Sort algorithm used?

Tim Sort algorithm is used in various programming languages like Python, Java, and C++ as their default sorting algorithm for built-in sorting functions. It is also used in various applications where stable and efficient sorting is required, such as sorting large data sets, multimedia data, and in online sorting applications where data keeps on coming.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of Tim Sort:


  • It has a good performance in both the average case and worst case.
  • It is a stable sorting algorithm, which means that the relative order of equal elements is preserved.
  • It can handle many different types of data, including partially ordered data.
  • It has a low memory footprint due to the use of in-place merging.


  • The implementation of Tim Sort can be complex and difficult to understand.
  • It may not be the best choice for small data sets, as the overhead of the algorithm can be higher than simpler sorting algorithms.
  • The worst-case time complexity of Tim Sort is O(n log n), which is the same as many other sorting algorithms, such as merge sort and quicksort. However, in practice, Tim Sort often outperforms these other algorithms.

We hope this article helped you to understand Tim Sort Analysis in a very detailed way.

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