stl algorithm get - C++ sorting and keeping track of indexes

7 Answers

You could sort std::pair instead of just ints - first int is original data, second int is original index. Then supply a comparator that only sorts on the first int. Example:

Your problem instance: v = [5 7 8]
New problem instance: v_prime = [<5,0>, <8,1>, <7,2>]

Sort the new problem instance using a comparator like:

typedef std::pair<int,int> mypair;
bool comparator ( const mypair& l, const mypair& r)
   { return l.first < r.first; }
// forgetting the syntax here but intent is clear enough

The result of std::sort on v_prime, using that comparator, should be:

v_prime = [<5,0>, <7,2>, <8,1>]

You can peel out the indices by walking the vector, grabbing .second from each std::pair.

the indices array

Using C++, and hopefully the standard library, I want to sort a sequence of samples in ascending order, but I also want to remember the original indexes of the newly samples.

For example, I have a set, or vector, or matrix of samples A : [5, 2, 1, 4, 3]. I want to sort these to be B : [1,2,3,4,5], but I also want to remember the original indexes of the values, so I can get another set which would be: C : [2, 1, 4, 3, 0 ] - which corresponds to the index of the each element in 'B', in the original 'A'.

For example, in Matlab you can do:

 [a,b]=sort([5, 8, 7])
 a = 5 7 8
 b = 1 3 2

Can anyone see a good way to do this?

vector<pair<int,int> >a;

for (i = 0 ;i < n ; i++) {
    // filling the original array
    cin >> k;
    a.push_back (make_pair (k,i)); // k = value, i = original index

sort (a.begin(),a.end());

for (i = 0 ; i < n ; i++){
    cout << a[i].first << " " << a[i].second << "\n";

Now a contains both both our values and their respective indices in the sorted.

a[i].first = value at i'th.

a[i].second = idx in initial array.

Its easier than it seems to be.

Suppose Given vector is


Create A new vector

V=[0,1,2] // indicating positions

Sort V and while sorting instead of comparing elements of V , compare corresponding elements of A

 //Assume A is a given vector with N elements
 vector<int> V(N);
 int x=0;
 std::iota(V.begin(),V.end(),x++); //Initializing
 sort( V.begin(),V.end(), [&](int i,int j){return A[i]<A[j];} );

Beautiful solution by @Lukasz Wiklendt! Although in my case I needed something more generic so I modified it a bit:

template <class RAIter, class Compare>
vector<size_t> argSort(RAIter first, RAIter last, Compare comp) {

  vector<size_t> idx(last-first);
  iota(idx.begin(), idx.end(), 0);

  auto idxComp = [&first,comp](size_t i1, size_t i2) {
      return comp(first[i1], first[i2]);

  sort(idx.begin(), idx.end(), idxComp);

  return idx;

Example: Find indices sorting a vector of strings by length, except for the first element which is a dummy.

vector<string> test = {"dummy", "a", "abc", "ab"};

auto comp = [](const string &a, const string& b) {
    return a.length() > b.length();

const auto& beginIt = test.begin() + 1;
vector<size_t> ind = argSort(beginIt, test.end(), comp);

for(auto i : ind)
    cout << beginIt[i] << endl;



There is another way to solve this, using a map:

vector<double> v = {...}; // input data
map<double, unsigned> m; // mapping from value to its index
for (auto it = v.begin(); it != v.end(); ++it)
    m[*it] = it - v.begin();

This will eradicate non-unique elements though. If that's not acceptable, use a multimap:

vector<double> v = {...}; // input data
multimap<double, unsigned> m; // mapping from value to its index
for (auto it = v.begin(); it != v.end(); ++it)
    m.insert(make_pair(*it, it - v.begin()));

In order to output the indices, iterate over the map or multimap:

for (auto it = m.begin(); it != m.end(); ++it)
    cout << it->second << endl;

For this type of question Store the orignal array data into a new data and then binary search the first element of the sorted array into the duplicated array and that indice should be stored into a vector or array.

input array=>a
duplicate array=>b
vector=>c(Stores the indices(position) of the orignal array

Here binarysearch is a function which takes the array,size of array,searching item and would return the position of the searched item

There are many ways. A rather simple solution is to use a 2D vector.

#include <algorithm>
#include <iostream>
#include <vector>
using namespace std;

int main() {
 vector<vector<double>> val_and_id;
 for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
   val_and_id[i].resize(2); // one to store value, the other for index.
 // Store value in dimension 1, and index in the other:
 // say values are 5,4,7,1,3.
 val_and_id[0][0] = 5.0;
 val_and_id[1][0] = 4.0;
 val_and_id[2][0] = 7.0;
 val_and_id[3][0] = 1.0;
 val_and_id[4][0] = 3.0;

 val_and_id[0][1] = 0.0;
 val_and_id[1][1] = 1.0;
 val_and_id[2][1] = 2.0;
 val_and_id[3][1] = 3.0;
 val_and_id[4][1] = 4.0;

 sort(val_and_id.begin(), val_and_id.end());
 // display them:
 cout << "Index \t" << "Value \n";
 for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
  cout << val_and_id[i][1] << "\t" << val_and_id[i][0] << "\n";
 return 0;

Here is the output:

   Index   Value
   3       1
   4       3
   1       4
   0       5
   2       7