Expected time analysis of interpolation merge - a simple new merging algorithm

Sumanta Guha, Arunabha Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Binary merge is the best general-purpose merging algorithm known to date. Binary merge consists of two components: a first component in which an array index is incremented by a number nearly equal to the ratio of the sizes of the two arrays being merged followed by a second component, binary search. In this paper we formulate a simple algorithm called interpolation merge, where the binary search component is replaced with linear search, and analyze its expected behavior over data drawn from a uniform distribution. Our results, both theoretical and experimental, indicate a constant factor (≈0.75) speed-up over straight two-way merge. Further, our analysis of interpolation merge, which uses a mechanism of incremental indexing similar to that in binary merge, will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the latter algorithm. Currently, no significant results are known about the expected behavior of binary merge over data drawn from any standard probability distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-281
Number of pages5
JournalInformation Processing Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 13 1991


  • Analysis of algorithms
  • merging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications


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