Sorting algorithms are typically covered in college computer science
classes with titles like "Data Structures & Algorithms".  Sorting is a
CS topic and it doesn't appear to be studied in many math
departments... but some "Discrete Math/Number Theory" kinds of courses
might cover related topics.  Donald Knuth has a set of books called
"The Art of Computer Programming" that are very good for learning all
kinds of algorithms and how to apply them.  I think Volume 3 deals
specifically with sorts/sieves.

On 4/13/07, Don Levan <levandon / gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all,
>
> A journey that has taken me from developing in Filemaker through the
> self study of Ruby, Rails, and regular expressions has led me to
> begin looking at algorithms and data structures. Though I don't have
> a traditional computer science background, I am trying to educate
> myself as best I can.
>
> I am begin stymied  by what looks like math but is greek to me. For
> example, on the first page of the book I am reading (The Algorithm
> Design Manual, b Steven Skinea), there is this description of the
> insertion sort algorithm:
>
> for i = 1 to n - 1 do
> 	for j = i downto 2 do
> 		if (A[j] < A[j-1]) then swap(A[j],A[j-1])
>
> I can struggle through it, but I am wondering 1) what branch of math
> is this? Is it algebra or something more complex? And 2) are there
> any good (and accessible) books that will give me a basic
> introduction to the language conventions?
>
> Thanks so much,
>
> Don Levan
> Brooklyn, New York
>
>