Recently, a new Quicksort variant due to Yaroslavskiy was chosen as standard sorting
method for Oracle's Java 7 runtime library. The decision for the change was based on
empirical studies showing that on average, the new algorithm is faster than the formerly
used classic Quicksort. Surprisingly, the improvement was achieved by using a dual pivot
approach — an idea that was considered not promising by several theoretical studies in the
past. In this thesis, I try to find the reason for this unexpected success.
My focus is on the precise and detailed average case analysis, aiming at the flavor of
Knuth's series “The Art of Computer Programming”. In particular, I go beyond abstract
measures like counting key comparisons, and try to understand the efficiency of the
algorithms at different levels of abstraction. Whenever possible, precise expected values are
preferred to asymptotic approximations. This rigor ensures that (a) the sorting methods
discussed here are actually usable in practice and (b) that the analysis results contribute to
a sound comparison of the Quicksort variants.