The bead sort operation can be compared to the manner in which beads slide on parallel poles, such as on an abacus
. However, each pole may have a distinct number of beads. Initially, it may be helpful to imagine the beads suspended on vertical poles. In Step 1, such an arrangement is displayed using n=5
rows of beads on m=4
vertical poles. The numbers to the right of each row indicate the number that the row in question represents; rows 1 and 2 are representing the positive integer 3 (because they each contain three beads) while the top row represents the positive integer 2 (as it only contains two beads).