# Which algorithm is used by STL sort? [closed]

I implemented my own shellsort, shown in plot below are the timings for it.

0 means std::sort, used for comparision

Which algorithm is used by STL sort?

https://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/algorithm/sort

## closed as off-topic by Evil, David Richerby, Discrete lizard♦, Yuval Filmus, vonbrandAug 1 '18 at 13:27

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• There are multiple implementations of STL. Some of them are available online: cplusplus.com/forum/general/219746. – Yuval Filmus Jul 12 '18 at 16:39
• At any rate, this seems beyond the scope of this site. – Yuval Filmus Jul 12 '18 at 16:39

The C++ Library Specification does not prescribe any particular algorithm or implementation strategy. Every implementor is free to choose any algorithm, strategy, or combination of algorithms and strategies they please.

An implementor targeting resource-constrained IoT sensor devices, for example, may choose a different algorithm than one who targets high-performance workstations or servers.

Note that the C++ Library Specification does prescribe certain complexity guarantees that an implementor must obey:

$O(N \log N)$ comparisons, where $N = \texttt{last - first}$.

This may restrict the choice of algorithms. For example, Quicksort cannot be used in this case.

• It's more correct to say that quicksort alone cannot be used in this case. All real-world industrial-strength sort systems tend to use a combination of "basic" sort algorithms and may dynamically adjust their behaviour as the key distribution becomes more clear. The obvious example is quicksort falling back to insertion sort for the base case. – Pseudonym Jul 13 '18 at 5:05

ShellSort is bad choice due to inefficient use of CPU caches.