# Merge Sorted Array/List

Merge two sorted array is simple:

public class MergeTwoSortedArray {
public void merge(int A[], int m, int B[], int n) {
while (m > 0 && n > 0) {
int idx = m + n - 1;
int va = A[m - 1];
int vb = B[n - 1];
if (va > vb) {
A[idx] = va;
m--;
} else {
A[idx] = vb;
n--;
}
}

while (n > 0) {
A[n - 1] = B[n - 1];
n--;
}

}
}


The code below shows how to merge two linked list:

/**
* public class ListNode {
*     int val;
*     ListNode next;
*     ListNode(int x) {
*         val = x;
*         next = null;
*     }
* }
*/
public class MergeTwoSortedList {
public ListNode mergeTwoLists(ListNode l1, ListNode l2) {

while (l1 != null && l2 != null) {
if (l1.val <= l2.val) {
p.next = l1;
p = p.next;
l1 = l1.next;
} else {
p.next = l2;
p = p.next;
l2 = l2.next;
}
}

if (l1 != null) p.next = l1;
else p.next = l2;

}
}


But merge K sorted array is a little complex. If we are going to pick the smallest number from K list, it will cost time , we have to pick time. So the total time cost is . If K is very large, it will not be efficient enougth.

One alternative way is to use divide and conquer method and merge the list recursively. In this way we get a time complexity of . Its space cost for array sort is a bit huge, but this method is quite a simple and fast solution and it is very space efficient for Linked list.

/**
* public class ListNode {
*     int val;
*     ListNode next;
*     ListNode(int x) { val = x; }
* }
*/
public class Solution {
private ListNode mergeKLists(ListNode[] lists, int a, int b) {
if (a == b) return lists[a];

int mid = (a + b) / 2;
ListNode left = mergeKLists(lists, a, mid);
ListNode right = mergeKLists(lists, mid + 1, b);

while (left != null && right != null) {
if (left.val <= right.val) {
p.next = left;
left = left.next;
} else {
p.next = right;
right = right.next;
}

p = p.next;
}

if (left == null) {
p.next = right;
} else {
p.next = left;
}


For merge sorted array, there are another solution of time cost but is more space efficiently when K is small. That is using a Heap or PriorityQueue. At first we pick the first item from each array and put it into a PriorityQueue. When doing this, we also record which array this element is from. Everytime we pick an item from the PriorityQueue and insert it to the merged array. Then, we examine which array this item is from and pick a new item from that array to PriorityQueue. The space cost will be for this solution as the PriorityQueue needs K units more spaces.