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Pancake Sort

Pancake sort is a sorting algorithm that focuses on decreasing number of reversals instead of decreasing the number of comparisons which is done by traditional sorting techniques.

It's called pancake sort as it seems like we are flipping pancakes with a spatula, thus, what we can do to sort an array is to use flip function.

Pancake sort algorithm:


Reverse all values from the beginning of the unsorted array till the specified index.


Find index of maximum number within the specified range of an unsorted array.


Unsorted Array
Iteratively, decrease current_size of the array, knowing for a fact that array is sorted in a bottom-up manner.

  • Get the index of maximum value in the unsorted array within specified current_size, checks if index of maximum value doesn't equal current_size - 1, then we can flip(index of maximum value) and finally flip(current_size - 1)

PancakeSort 1

PancakeSort 2

def flip(arr, i): 
    start = 0 
    while start < i: 
        arr[start], arr[i] = arr[i], arr[start]
        start += 1 
        i -= 1 

def find_max(arr, current_size): 
    mi = 0 
    for i in range(0, current_size): 
        if arr[i] > arr[mi]: 
            mi = i
    return mi 

def pancake_sort(arr): 
    current_size = len(arr) 
    while current_size > 1: 
        mi = find_max(arr, current_size)
        if mi != current_size - 1: 
            flip(arr, mi)
            flip(arr, current_size - 1)
        current_size -= 1
    return arr

arr = [40, 20, 28, 8, 60, 33]
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Time complexity:

Complexity value
Best O(n)
Worst O(n^2)

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