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Sorting Two-Dimensional Arrays

Do you know how a 2D array is stored in the memory while the memory is only one-dimensional?

The answer is simple, all the arrays are stored linearly in the memory, be it 2D array or 3D, only the representation is such that to make it easy to reference.

Therefore, if a two-dimensional array has the following elements:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

in the memory, it will be like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

just because memory is linear, and cannot have dimensions. It is the language that represents 2 D arrays as such while in the memory it is always linear.

This property of 2D arrays will be used to sort them, because sorting linear data is much easier.

We don’t need much discussion on this, so here is the example program, please read the comments where all things are elaborated

  // --Sorting Program--
  // -------------------
  // Example Program to sort
  // 2D array using linear
  // representation of the array
  #include<iostream.h>

  #define MAX 3

  void main(void)
  {
   int arr[MAX][MAX];
   int i,j,temp;
   int *arr_ptr;

   for(i=0;i<MAX;i++)
     for(j=0;j<MAX;j++)
       cin>>arr[i][j];

   // we have taken a pointer
   // to the 2D array to
   // represent it linearly

   // C-style type cast
   // is necessary here
   arr_ptr=(int*)arr;

   // sorting is done here.
   // selection sort method of
   // sorting is employed here
   // you can use whichever
   // method you like

   // here MAX*MAX is used 
   // because the no. of elements
   // in the linear representation
   // of the 2D array has that
   // many elements
   for(i=0;i<((MAX*MAX)-1);i++)
     for(j=i+1;j<(MAX*MAX);j++)
       if(*(arr_ptr+i)>*(arr_ptr+j))
       {
        temp=*(arr_ptr+i);
        *(arr_ptr+i)=*(arr_ptr+j);
        *(arr_ptr+j)=temp;
       }
   // sorting is done till here

   cout<<endl;

   for(i=0;i<MAX;i++)
   {
    for(j=0;j<MAX;j++)
    cout<<" "<<arr[i][j];
    cout<<endl;
   }
  }

Good-Bye!

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