This doesn't sort the hash, it only converts the date from D/M/YYYY to YYYY/MM/DD so that it can be used as a key in your %datecount hash. This hash can be sorted the way you do it in your code fragment.
As to qw:
$ perldoc -f qw
Generalized quotes. See "Regexp Quote-Like Operators"
It returns a list of words without doing interpolation on them. It is just a convenient way of writing:
my @dates = ('5/7/2001' '3/10/2005' '1/1/1996' '2/1/1993');
Hope this helps, -gjb-
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