From charlesreid1

Fisher Yates Shuffle

Implementation of a classic shuffle algorithm using various Java data structures.


The Fisher Yates shuffle algorithm walks through an entire list of numbers, starting at the back. The pointer points to the index being shuffled. A random index between 0 and the current index being shuffled is selected, and the two values are swapped. The pointer then decrements by one (moves one index closer to the front of the list).

Note that the index i should not cover the first item in the list (i=0).

The pseudocode for shuffling an array of length n is:

for i in n..1:
    j = random number in 0..i
    swap array[i], array[j]
    decrement i


Example of class:

Deck of Cards

This example tests the Fisher Yates shuffle method by creating a deck of cards as an array of Strings, and passes the array to the method to shuffle it in place.

import java.util.*;

 * Fisher Yates Shuffle class.
 * This class implements the Fisher-Yates shuffle
 * as a static method.
 * This accepts an array as input, and shuffles it in-place.
public class FisherYates {

	/** swap two "Objects" */
	private static void swap(Object[] arr, int x, int y){
		if(x != y) {
			Object temp = arr[x];
			arr[x] = arr[y];
			arr[y] = temp;

	 * Fisher Yates shuffle : this is getting complicated. 
	 * How to implement this with arrays of generic types?
	public static void shuffleFY(String[] inputs) {
		Random r = new Random();
		int n = inputs.length;
		for(int j=n-1; j>0; j--) {
			// Fisher Yates shuffle:
			//   j starts at n-1
			//   swap with random element between 0 and j (INCLUSIVE)
			int k = r.nextInt(j+1);
			swap(inputs, j, k);

	public static void main(String[] args) { 
		Deck d = new Deck();


Driver to test

/** Hope you like cards.
 * This implements a standard deck of 52 cards.
class Deck {
	private String[] deck;

	// define how your cards work
	private final int capacity = 52;
	private final String[] SUITS = {"SPADES","CLUBS","HEARTS","DIAMONDS"};
	private final String[] FACES = {"A","2","3","4","5","6","7","8","9","10","J","Q","K"};

	/** constructor don't need no arguments */
	public Deck(){
		deck = new String[capacity];

		int card = 0;
		for(String suit : SUITS) { 
			for(String face : FACES) { 
				deck[card] = face + " of " + suit;

	/** turn into string array */
	public String[] toArray() { return deck; }

	/** turn into string */
	public String toString() {
		StringBuffer s = new StringBuffer();
		for(String this_card : deck) { 
		return s.toString();