# Python Bubble Sort

In this article, delve into the world of Python Bubble Sort, a fundamental algorithm in computer science for organising and sorting data. Begin with understanding the essential logic behind the Python Bubble Sort algorithm, and learn how it works by analysing a step-by-step example. After grasping the basics, discover how to implement the Bubble Sort algorithm in Python and compare the basic implementation with an optimised version. Furthermore, explore the various applications of Python Bubble Sort, such as sorting strings in alphabetical order and uncover the practical use cases in computer science. Throughout this article, become well-versed in the Python Bubble Sort algorithm and gain crucial skills for future programming endeavours.

#### Create learning materials about Python Bubble Sort with our free learning app!

• Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
• Everything you need to ace your exams

## Python Bubble Sort Algorithm Explained

In computer science, sorting is a crucial task that aims to arrange elements in a particular order. The Python bubble sort algorithm is one of the easiest sorting algorithms in this domain. It works by repeatedly stepping through the elements of a list or an array and comparing each pair of adjacent elements. If the elements are found to be in the wrong order, the algorithm swaps them. This process continues until there are no more swaps needed. This iterative technique ensures that the largest element "bubbles up" to the end of the list during each pass.

The bubble sort algorithm has a worst-case time complexity of $$O(n^2)$$, where 'n' represents the number of elements in the list. However, with its simplicity and ease of implementation, it remains a popular choice for educational purposes and sorting relatively small datasets.

## Bubble Sort Example Python: Step-by-Step Walkthrough

To get a better understanding of the Python bubble sort algorithm, let us discuss a step-by-step example in detail, taking an unsorted list as our input.

Consider the following list as our input:

• 5
• 1
• 4
• 2
• 8

We will now walk through the steps taken by the bubble sort algorithm to sort this list in ascending order:

1. Compare the first two elements (5 and 1). Since 5 > 1, swap them:
1, 5, 4, 2, 8
2. Move to the next pair (5 and 4). Swap them as 5 > 4:
1, 4, 5, 2, 8
3. Continue the process with the next pair (5 and 2) and swap them:
1, 4, 2, 5, 8
4. Proceed to the next pair (5 and 8). As 5 < 8, no swap is needed.

Since an entire pass took place without any swaps needed, the list is considered sorted and the algorithm terminates.

Here is a Python code implementation of the bubble sort algorithm:


def bubble_sort(arr):
n = len(arr)
for i in range(n):
for j in range(0, n - i - 1):
if arr[j] > arr[j + 1]:
arr[j], arr[j + 1] = arr[j + 1], arr[j]

arr = [5, 1, 4, 2, 8]
bubble_sort(arr)
print("Sorted array is:", arr)


In the example above, the bubble sort algorithm is implemented using a Python function called 'bubble_sort'. The function accepts a list 'arr' as its input and sorts it in-place through nested loops. The inner loop ensures that the elements are compared and swapped if they are in the wrong order while the outer loop iterates through the list multiple times. Finally, the sorted list is printed as output.

By optimizing the Python bubble sort algorithm, you can break the outer loop if no swaps occur in the inner loop during an iteration. This early termination indicates that the list is already sorted and no further iterations are required, which can save you significant processing time when sorting already sorted or nearly sorted lists.

## Implementing Bubble Sort in Python

The basic implementation of the Python bubble sort algorithm can be achieved using a function, such as 'bubble_sort', that takes a list as its argument and performs the sorting process through nested loops. The outer loop iterates through all the elements of the list, whilst the inner loop compares adjacent elements and swaps them if they are out of order. The inner loop's range decreases during each iteration to prevent comparing sorted elements.

Here's a sample Python code demonstrating the basic implementation of bubble sort:


def bubble_sort(arr):
n = len(arr)
for i in range(n):
for j in range(0, n - i - 1):
if arr[j] > arr[j + 1]:
arr[j], arr[j + 1] = arr[j + 1], arr[j]

arr = [64, 34, 25, 12, 22, 11, 90]
bubble_sort(arr)
print("Sorted array is:", arr)

To further clarify the code, let's break down its key components:
• Define a function named 'bubble_sort' that takes a list 'arr' as input.
• Calculate the length of the list (n) using the 'len' function.
• Use a 'for' loop to iterate through all elements in the list (outer loop).
• Using a nested 'for' loop (inner loop), iterate through the remaining unsorted elements and compare adjacent pairs.
• If the current element (arr[j]) is greater than the element to its right (arr[j+1]), swap them using the 'swap' operation.
• After the loops finish executing, the sorted list 'arr' is printed.

### Bubble Sort Algorithm Python: Optimised Version

An optimised version of the bubble sort algorithm improves its performance, especially for partially sorted or nearly sorted lists. This optimisation can be achieved by adding a variable that tracks whether any swaps occurred during an iteration. If no swaps occur, the algorithm terminates, as the list is already sorted. This early termination can save a significant amount of time in certain cases.

Below is the Python code for the optimised version of bubble sort:


def optimised_bubble_sort(arr):
n = len(arr)
for i in range(n):
swapped = False
for j in range(0, n - i - 1):
if arr[j] > arr[j + 1]:
arr[j], arr[j + 1] = arr[j + 1], arr[j]
swapped = True
if not swapped:
break

arr = [64, 34, 25, 12, 22, 11, 90]
optimised_bubble_sort(arr)
print("Sorted array is:", arr)

The optimised bubble sort algorithm has the following key enhancements:
• Introduce a 'swapped' variable before the inner loop to track any swaps made during each iteration of the outer loop.
• Set 'swapped' to 'True' inside the inner loop whenever a swap is performed.
• After each iteration of the inner loop, check the value of 'swapped'. If it remains 'False', it signifies that no swaps were made, indicating that the list is already sorted and the algorithm can terminate early.

Both basic and optimised implementations provide an understanding of the bubble sort algorithm in Python. By using them efficiently in various scenarios, you can optimise your code and achieve better performance while sorting elements in your lists or arrays.

## Applications of Python Bubble Sort

Python Bubble Sort algorithm is commonly implemented in various programming and real-life scenarios for its simplicity, ease of implementation, and understanding. In this section, we discuss some use cases where bubble sort can be effectively used to sort different types of data such as strings and practical applications in computer science.

### Bubble Sort Alphabetical Order Python: Sorting Strings

Bubble sort is not limited to sorting numeric values, it can also be employed to sort strings in alphabetical order. This requires the comparison of two string elements to determine the correct sequence. By comparing the Unicode values of characters in each string, bubble sort can arrange strings in alphabetical order.

Here is a detailed walkthrough of the process:

1. Convert each string element to a reference character, often the first character of the string.
2. Compare the Unicode value of these reference characters to decide the order of the two strings.
3. Swap the strings if they are found in the incorrect order based on their reference characters.
4. Iterate through the list of strings, repeatedly sorting and swapping until the entire list is arranged in alphabetical order.

An example Python code implementation for sorting a list of strings would look like this:


def bubble_sort_strings(arr):
n = len(arr)
for i in range(n):
for j in range(0, n - i - 1):
if arr[j] > arr[j + 1]:
arr[j], arr[j + 1] = arr[j + 1], arr[j]

string_list = ["banana", "apple", "orange", "grape", "cherry"]
bubble_sort_strings(string_list)
print("Alphabetically sorted list:", string_list)


With the above implementation, the input list of strings is sorted in alphabetical order based on their reference character comparison, which in this case is their first character.

## Practical Use Cases of Python Bubble Sort in Computer Science

While Python Bubble Sort has its limitations in terms of complexity and efficiency, it remains a popular sorting technique in various practical applications where simplicity and ease of implementation are more important, especially in the following cases:

1. Educational Purposes: Bubble Sort serves as an introductory technique for teaching sorting algorithms to beginners as it is easy to comprehend and implement compared to more complex algorithms such as Merge Sort and Quick Sort.

For example, bubble sort can be used as an introductory topic in a computer science course, allowing students to learn the basic concepts of sorting, comparison, and swapping before moving on to more advanced algorithms.

1. Small Datasets: With small datasets, bubble sort's simplicity and in-place sorting capabilities can outweigh its performance drawbacks, making it a suitable option for sorting relatively small amounts of data.
1. Nearly Sorted Datasets: When applied to a list that is already partially sorted, the optimised version of the bubble sort algorithm can terminate early, making it efficient for certain scenarios where the data is already in an almost sorted state.
1. Restricted Environment Applications: In some cases, computational resources and memory might be limited, and using more complex algorithms might not be feasible. In such constrained environments, bubble sort can be a valuable alternative.

In summary, Python Bubble Sort is useful for specific applications where simplicity, ease of implementation, and educational potential are prioritised over time complexity. Although other sorting algorithms are more efficient for large datasets or complex data structures, bubble sort continues to serve as a practical solution in some cases, especially for new learners in computer science and in constrained computing environments.

## Python Bubble Sort - Key takeaways

• Python Bubble Sort is a fundamental algorithm for organising and sorting data, with a worst-case time complexity of $$O(n^2)$$.
• Bubble Sort works by repeatedly stepping through a list, comparing and swapping adjacent elements if they are in the wrong order.
• Optimised bubble sort with early termination is more efficient when sorting already sorted or nearly sorted lists.
• Bubble sort can be used to sort strings in alphabetical order through comparing Unicode values of characters.
• Python Bubble Sort remains popular for educational purposes, small datasets, nearly sorted datasets, and constrained resource applications.

#### Flashcards in Python Bubble Sort 15

###### Learn with 15 Python Bubble Sort flashcards in the free StudySmarter app

We have 14,000 flashcards about Dynamic Landscapes.

How do I implement Bubble Sort in Python?
To bubble sort a list in Python, you iteratively compare adjacent items and swap them if they're in the wrong order. You keep repeating this process until the entire list is sorted. Use a nested loop, with an outer loop controlling the number of passes and an inner loop controlling the comparisons and swaps. Here's a basic implementation: python def bubble_sort(lst): for i in range(len(lst)-1): for j in range(len(lst)-1-i): if lst[j] > lst[j+1]: lst[j], lst[j+1] = lst[j+1], lst[j] return lst 
How can I code bubble sort in Python?
To code Bubble Sort in Python, first define a function that takes a list as input. Then, use nested loops, iterating through the list comparing adjacent elements and swapping them if they are in the wrong order. Repeat this process until no more swaps are necessary, meaning the list is sorted. Here's an example implementation: python def bubble_sort(arr): n = len(arr) for i in range(n): for j in range(0, n-i-1): if arr[j] > arr[j+1]: arr[j], arr[j+1] = arr[j+1], arr[j] 
What is bubble sort in Python?
Bubble sort is a simple sorting algorithm used in Python to arrange data in a specific order, either ascending or descending. It works by repeatedly iterating through a list, comparing and swapping adjacent elements if they are in the wrong order. This process continues until no more swaps are needed, indicating that the list is sorted. However, bubble sort is not the most efficient sorting algorithm, especially for large data sets.
How does bubble sort work in Python?
Bubble Sort in Python works by repeatedly stepping through the list, comparing adjacent elements and swapping them if they are in the wrong order. The iteration continues until the entire list is sorted. During each pass, the algorithm compares the current element with the next one, and if they are in the wrong order, it swaps them. Bubble Sort is named after the way smaller elements "bubble" to the beginning of the list as larger elements "sink" to the end.
What is the best case of bubble sort in Python?
The best case scenario for bubble sort in Python occurs when the input list is already sorted, resulting in a time complexity of O(n). In this situation, the algorithm only needs to perform one iteration to confirm the sorted order, minimising the number of comparisons and swaps required.

## Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

In which cases is Bubble Sort a popular choice?

What happens if no swaps occur during an outer loop iteration in the optimised version of bubble sort?

What is the basic principle behind the Bubble Sort algorithm's operation?

StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

##### StudySmarter Editorial Team

Team Computer Science Teachers

• Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team