A Beginner’s Guide to Binary Heaps


Heaps are actually very useful for sorting. Using buildHeap(), we can effectively build a heap in \(O(n)\) time, and then we can extract each minimum in the array in \(O(h)\) time. This means that we can extract every element in sorted order in \(O(n\log n)\).

std::vector<Element> sortAscending(std::vector<Element>& v) {
  MinHeap minh;
  while(minh.arr.size() != 0) {

  return minh.arr;

std::vector<Element> sortDescending(std::vector<Element>& v) {
  MaxHeap maxh;
  while(maxh.arr.size() != 0) {

  return maxh.arr;


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