Bead Sort Algorithm

Bead sort algorithm, also called gravity sort, is a natural sorting algorithm. Both digital and analog hardware implementations of bead sort can achieve a sorting time of Θ(n); however, the implementation of this algorithm tends to be significantly slower in software and can only be used to sort lists of positive integers.

Read this article to understand the intuition behind Gravity / Bead Sort

This is a perfect example where a hardware implementation is better than software implementation contrary to common belief.

This picture captures the idea behind Gravity/ Bead Sort:

Share your thoughts or ask any questions below

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Nice Explanation. It is really helpful to me.


This is really interesting.

On thinking of comparing hardware implementation vs software implementation, the first example that comes to my mind is a calculator. Certainly, digital calculators are faster than mechanical alternatives. The reason that comes to my mind is that retarding forces in mechanical counterparts are much more stronger. I wonder if this holds true :thinking:

Faster in this example means less number of operations which certainly seems impressive :+1:

1 Like