December 4, 2012
In the previous exercise we computed the median of five items by sorting them and then taking the third item. Sorting does more work than is necessary; for instance, given the list [1, 2, 3, 5, 4], we don’t need to swap 5 and 4 into their correct positions to determine that 3 is the median as long as we know that both 4 and 5 are greater than 3..
Your task is to write a function that determines the median of five items using the fewest possible comparisons. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.