This talk describes three of the most beautiful pieces of code that I have ever written: three different implementations of Hoare’s classic Quicksort algorithm. The first implementation is a bare-bones function in about a dozen lines of C. The second implementation starts by instrumenting the first program to measure its run time; a dozen systematic code transformations proceed to make it more and more powerful yet more and more simple, until it finally disappears in a puff of mathematical smoke. It therefore becomes the most beautiful program I never wrote.

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