Heap Sort Algorithm

In this tutorial, you will learn how heap sort algorithm works. Also, you will find working examples of heap sort in C, C++, Java and Python.


Heap Sort is a popular and efficient sorting algorithm in computer programming. Learning how to write the heap sort algorithm requires knowledge of two types of data structures - arrays and trees.

The initial set of numbers that we want to sort is stored in an array e.g. [10, 3, 76, 34, 23, 32] and after sorting, we get a sorted array [3,10,23,32,34,76]

Heap sort works by visualizing the elements of the array as a special kind of complete binary tree called a heap.

As a prerequisite, you must know about a complete binary tree and heap data structure.


Relationship between Array Indexes and Tree Elements

A complete binary tree has an interesting property that we can use to find the children and parents of any node.

If the index of any element in the array is i, the element in the index 2i+1 will become the left child and element in 2i+2 index will become the right child. Also, the parent of any element at index i is given by the lower bound of (i-1)/2.

Relationship between array and heap indices


Let's test it out,

Left child of 1 (index 0) 
= element in (2*0+1) index  
= element in 1 index  
= 12   

Right child of 1 
=