Let's derive the running time of the median of medians algorithm.
Since you can use Google, you already know that the answer is O(n). But do you know why?
Yes, I do. I also know that your contraption has nothing to do with medians of medians algorithm - that's why I was confused.
Median of medians is a divide-and-conquer algorithm. In each stage of the recursion, we split the array into K subarrays and recurse on them. To combine the results of those recursions, we do a constant amount of work.
Oops. Ah, now I see. Sorry, I missed the fact that you call median_of_medians recursively. Very embarrassing: I did the same mistake you did - have looked on the name of the algorithm and assumed it just picks medians of pieces and then selects median from these.
Well... this algorithm is linear, all right. The only problem: it does not guarantee linear complexity of quicksort! You basically split array in two uneven pieces, then combine six (if k == 5 then ten) such arrays to organize bigger array and you gurantee that at least two pieces go to the left and at least two pieces go to the right. This means that each recursion step potentially amplifies the disproportion. In the end you can have two pieces of quite disproportionate sizes. It's not clear if you can organize array in such a bad fashion as to push complexity of quicksort back to O(N²) but this looks highly probable.
The property of pivot produced by Median of Medians algorithm is quite different: it's always between 30% and 70% elements and these percentages do not depend on the number of recursive calls. Why? Median of Medians algorithm also introduces disproportions at each step, right? Yes, but it includes mechanism which fixes these disproportions. This is what guarantees O(N) complexity for finding true median and this is what guarantees O(N log N) complexity for quicksort.
Do you have any proof that your “median of median of median…” algorithm can not produce bad results at each step of quicksort? If not then this will put the whole excercise in the same bucket as “median of three” and not in the bucket of Median of Medians algorithm which guarantees O(N) complexity and guarantees that quicksort will not go to recursion lever deeper then log₂N. I've assumed that your code at least keeps the second property, but apparently you were more concerned with first. My bad.
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