Tutorial :Select i th smallest element from an array


I have a divide and conquer method to find the i th smallest element from an array. Here is the code:

public class rand_select{      public static int Rand_partition(int a[], int p, int q, int i) {          //smallest in a[p..q]          if ( p==q) return a[p];          int r=partition (a,p,q);          int k=r-p+1;          if (i==k) return a[r];          if (i<k){              return Rand_partition(a,p,r-1,i);          }          return Rand_partition(a,r-1,q,i-k);      }        public static void main(String[] args) {          int a[]=new int []{6,10,13,15,8,3,2,12};          System.out.println(Rand_partition(a,0,a.length-1,7));      }        public static  int partition(int a[],int p,int q) {          int  m=a[0];          while (p < q) {              while (p < q && a[p++] < m) {                  p++;              }              while (q > p && a[q--] > m) {                  q--;              }              int t = a[p];              a[p] = a[q];              a[q] = t;          }          int k=0;          for (int i=0; i < a.length; i++) {              if ( a[i]==m){                  k=i;              }          }          return k;      }  }  

However, I get an exception when run: java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException.


I was able to fix a few bugs. A minor one is this line:

  return Rand_partition(a,r-1,q,i-k);                             ^  

Instead, you want this:

  return Rand_partition(a,r+1,q,i-k);                             ^  

That's because you have partitioned a[p..q] into three parts as follows:

  a[p..r-1], a[r], a[r+1..q]  

Your original code handles the a[r] and a[p..r-1] case fine, but messes up on the a[r+1..q] by using r-1 instead.

I was also able to correct and simplify partition:

public static  int partition(int a[],int p,int q){      int  m=a[p]; // not m[0], you want to partition m[p..q]!!!      while ( p<q){          while (p<q && a[p] <m){ // don't do p++ here!              p++;          }          while (q>p && a[q]>m){ // don't do q-- here!              q--;          }          int t=a[p];          a[p]=a[q];          a[q]=t;      }      return p; // no need to search!!!  }  

Your original code had extraneous p++ and q--. Also, the search for where the pivot is is unnecessary. It's where p and q meet.

On naming conventions

Please follow Java naming conventions:

Class names should be nouns, in mixed case with the first letter of each internal word capitalized. Methods should be verbs, in mixed case with the first letter lowercase, with the first letter of each internal word capitalized.

Related questions

On array declarations

Also, do not make a habit of declaring arrays like this:

int x[];  

You should instead put the brackets with the type, rather than with the identifier:

int[] x;  

Related questions


Assuming this isn't homework where you need do it this way, and it's not in the critical path (which is a likely guess), just sort the array and grab the value at index i.

public static getIthSmallest(final int[] myArray, final int i) {      if (i < 0) {          System.err.println("You're going to get an ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException.");      }      if (i >= myArray.length) {          System.err.println("You're going to get an ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException.");      }      Arrays.sort(myArray);      return myArray[i];  }  


No clue what your bug is (I dislike Java :)

The simple solution (O(n) average, O(n^2) worst case) to this problem is copy the source to a nice simple implementation of qsort and make it only recurse on the side that contains the position you care about. It should be about 5 lines of code different so it should be easy to do.

If i is small there is a O(n + log(n)*i*log(i)) solution):

int FindI(int[] array, int i)  {      int[] tmp = array[0..i].dup; // copy first i elements;        sort(tmp);                   // sort, low to high        foreach(j in array[i..$])    // loop over the rest         if(j < tmp[0])         {            tmp[0] = j;            sort(tmp);         }      return tmp[0];  }  


The algorithm you're attempting to implement is called Quickselect. Here is a link to working code using a median-of-three partitioning strategy.


You can use public static T min(Collection coll, Comparator comp) in Collections.

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