C++ Program to Sort Linked List using Merge Sort

This is a C++ program to sort the given data using Merge Sort using linked list.

Problem Description

1. Merge-sort is based on an algorithmic design pattern called divide-and-conquer.
2. It forms tree structure.
3. The height of the tree will be log(n).
4. we merge n element at every level of the tree.
5. The time complexity of this algorithm is O(n*log(n)).

Problem Solution

1. Split the data into two equal half until we get at most one element in both half.
2. Merge Both into one making sure the resulting sequence is sorted.
3. Recursively split them and merge on the basis of constraint given in step 1.
4. Display the result.
5. Exit.

Program/Source Code

C++ program to implement Merge sort using linked list.
This program is successfully run on Dev-C++ using TDM-GCC 4.9.2 MinGW compiler on a Windows system.

using namespace std;
// A structure representing a node of a linked list.
struct node
	int data;
	node *next;
// A function creating a new node.
node* NewNode(int d)
	struct node *temp = new node;
	temp->data = d;
	temp->next = NULL;
	// Returning temp as the new node.
	return temp;
// A function adding the given data at the end of the linked list.
node* AddToList(node *tail, int data)
	struct node *newnode;
	newnode = NewNode(data);
	if(tail == NULL)
		tail = newnode;
	// If tail is not null assign newnode to the next of tail.
		tail->next = newnode;
		// Shift tail pointer to the added node.
		tail = tail->next;
	return tail;
node* Merge(node* h1, node* h2)
	node *t1 = new node;
	node *t2 = new node;
	node *temp = new node;
	// Return if the first list is empty.
	if(h1 == NULL)
		return h2;
	// Return if the Second list is empty.
	if(h2 == NULL)
		return h1;
	t1 = h1;
	// A loop to traverse the second list, to merge the nodes to h1 in sorted way.
	while (h2 != NULL)
		// Taking head node of second list as t2.
		t2 = h2;
		// Shifting second list head to the next.
		h2 = h2->next;
		t2->next = NULL;
		// If the data value is lesser than the head of first list add that node at the beginning.
		if(h1->data > t2->data)
			t2->next = h1;
			h1 = t2;
			t1 = h1;
		// Traverse the first list.
		if(t1->next == NULL)
			t1->next = t2;
			t1 = t1->next;
		// Traverse first list until t2->data more than node's data.
		else if((t1->next)->data <= t2->data)
			t1 = t1->next;
			goto flag;
			// Insert the node as t2->data is lesser than the next node.
			temp = t1->next;
			t1->next = t2;
			t2->next = temp;
	// Return the head of new sorted list.
	return h1;
// A function implementing Merge Sort on linked list using reference.
void MergeSort(node **head)
	node *first = new node;
	node *second = new node;
	node *temp = new node;
	first = *head;
	temp = *head;
	// Return if list have less than two nodes.
	if(first == NULL || first->next == NULL)
		// Break the list into two half as first and second as head of list.
		while(first->next != NULL)
			first = first->next;
			if(first->next != NULL)
				temp = temp->next;
				first = first->next;
		second = temp->next;
		temp->next = NULL;
		first = *head;
	// Implementing divide and conquer approach.
	// Merge the two part of the list into a sorted one.      
	*head = Merge(first, second);
int main()
	int n, i, num;
	struct node *head = new node;
	struct node *tail = new node;
	head = NULL;
	tail = NULL;
	cout<<"\nEnter the number of data element to be sorted: ";
	// Create linked list.
	for(i = 0; i < n; i++)
		cout<<"Enter element "<<i+1<<": ";
		tail = AddToList(tail, num);
		if(head == NULL)
			head = tail;
	// Send reference of head into MergeSort().
	// Printing the sorted data.
	cout<<"\nSorted Data ";
	while(head != NULL) 
	return 0;	
Program Explanation

1. Take input of data and create a linked list.
2. Call MergeSort() function with reference of head pointer in the argument list.
3. Recursively split the linked into two equal parts.
4. Split them until we get at most one element in both halves.
5. Combine lists into one linked list by invoking Merge() with the head of both the halves in the argument list.
6. Inside Merge(), take each of the nodes of the second list and insert it into the first list, according to the data part of the node.
7. Assign the head of the merged list to the head in MergeSort().
8. Return to main and display the result.
9. Exit.

Runtime Test Cases
Case 1:
Enter the number of data element to be sorted: 10
Enter element 1: 3
Enter element 2: 8
Enter element 3: 9
Enter element 4: 4
Enter element 5: 5
Enter element 6: 7
Enter element 7: 6
Enter element 8: 2
Enter element 9: 0
Enter element 10: 1
Sorted Data ->0->1->2->3->4->5->6->7->8->9

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Manish Bhojasia - Founder & CTO at Sanfoundry
Manish Bhojasia, a technology veteran with 20+ years @ Cisco & Wipro, is Founder and CTO at Sanfoundry. He lives in Bangalore, and focuses on development of Linux Kernel, SAN Technologies, Advanced C, Data Structures & Alogrithms. Stay connected with him at LinkedIn.

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