oblivious algorithm

Definition: An algorithm whose behavior, by design, is independent of some property that influences a typical algorithm for the same problem.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)

Specialization (... is a kind of me.)
bitonic sort.

Note: For example, an oblivious sort algorithm always makes the same comparisons, regardless of the input. This is useful for external sorts, since there is a fixed I/O schedule, or parallel algorithms, like bitonic sort.

Other types of oblivious algorithms are cache oblivious, which are not dependent on hardware parameters like cache size and cache-line length, and oblivious routing, which route packets independent of the network topology, the history of traffic flow, or the congestion.

Author: PEB

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Entry modified 10 January 2007.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "oblivious algorithm", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 10 January 2007. (accessed TODAY) Available from: