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Sorting refers to various ways of arranging or ordering things.

One important kind of sorting is arranging things in sequence according to some pre-defined ordering, e.g. when one sorts the books in a library alphabetically by title, subject or author. The problem of how change the order of lists according to given criteria is simply called sorting in computer science. It is one of extensively researched subjects in it; see sort algorithm.

Various sorting tasks are essential in industrial processes. For example, during the extraction of gold from ore, a device called a shaker table[?] uses gravity, vibration, and flow[?] to separate gold from lighter materials in the ore. Sorting is also a naturally occurring process that results in the concentration of ore. Sorting results from the application of some criterion or differential stressor to a mass to separate it into its components based on some variable quality. Materials that are different, but only slightly so, such as the isotopes of uranium, are very difficult to separate.

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