= B =
bogo-sort /boh`goh-sort'/ n.
The archetypical perversely awful algorithm (as opposed to
bubble sort, which is merely the generic bad
algorithm). Bogo-sort is equivalent to repeatedly throwing a deck
of cards in the air, picking them up at random, and then testing
whether they are in order. It serves as a sort of canonical
example of awfulness. Looking at a program and seeing a dumb
algorithm, one might say "Oh, I see, this program uses
bogo-sort." Esp. appropriate for algorithms with factorial or
super-exponential running time in the average case and
probabilistically infinite worst-case running time. Compare
bogus, brute force, lasherism.
A spectacular variant of bogo-sort has been proposed which has the
interesting property that, if the Many Worlds interpretation of
quantum mechanics is true, it can sort an arbitrarily large array
in linear time. (In the Many-Worlds model, the result of any
quantum action is to split the universe-before into a sheaf of
universes-after, one for each possible way the state vector can
collapse; in any one of the universes-after the result appears
random.) The steps are: 1. Permute the array randomly using a
quantum process, 2. If the array is not sorted, destroy the
universe (checking that it is sorted requires O(n) time).
Implementation of step 2 is left as an exercise for the reader.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.