A self-organizing feature map (Von der Malsburg 1973; Kohonen 1984) sorts n real numbers in O(n) time apparently violating the O(n log n) bound. Detailed analysis shows that the net takes advantage of the uniform distribution of the numbers and, in this case, sorting in O(n) is possible. There are, however, an exponentially small fraction of pathological distributions producing O(n2) sorting time. It is interesting to observe that standard learning produced a smart sorting algorithm.

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