A few things caught my eye while hacking on the latest round of sorting patches. Starting a new thread because these are orthogonal to the things discussed on the other threads:

1. SortTuple.tupindex is not used when the sort fits in memory. If we also got rid of the isnull1 flag, we could shrink SortTuple from 24 bytes to 16 bytes (on 64-bit systems). That would allow you to pack more tuples into memory, which generally speeds things up. We could for example steal the least-significant bit from the 'tuple' pointer for that, because the pointers are always at least 4-byte aligned. (But see next point)

2. We could easily categorize incoming tuples as the come in, into those that have a leading NULL, and others. If we kept them in separate arrays, or perhaps grow memtuples from bottom-up for non-NULLs and from top-down for NULLs, we wouldn't need to store, or compare, the 'isnull1' flag at all, in the quicksort.

3. In the single-Datum case, i.e. tuplesort_begin_datum(), we could just keep a counter of how many NULLs we saw, and not store them at all. That's quite a special case, but it's simple enough that it might be worth it.

I'm not going to pursue these right now, but might be good projects for someone.

- Heikki

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