What does algorithm mean? Digital Challenges for dummies
Algorithms seem to be defining our world, we hear so much talk about them that some of us have come to wonder what they actually are. Not a complicated description that will take time, commitment and competence to understand. A simple description that let's us know what we're talking about and decide whether we need to delve deeper or stop there.
Algorithms seem to be defining our world, we hear so much talk about them that some of us have come to wonder what they actually are. Not a complicated description that will take time, commitment and competence to understand. A simple description that let’s us know what we’re talking about and decide whether we need to delve deeper or stop there.
The word algorithm was first coined in the early middle ages to indicate calculations based on Arab numerals.
Now it refers to a form of calculation based on a finite number of instructions or rules that can find solutions to a problem after a finite number of calculations.
It is a term used in both mathematical logic and computer programming.
The word algorithm stems from late Latin, or medieval Latin, from the name of the celebrated mathematician al–Khuwārizmī, or Muḥammad ibn Mūsa also known as al–Khuwārizmī because he was born in Khwarezm, in Central Asia. al-Khurawizmi is also famous for being considered the founder of algebra, as well as having produced texts on arithmetic, geography and astronomy and having had many fundamental works of ancient Greece translated into Arabic for the Baghdad Library.
What is an algorithm
An algorithm is therefore a procedure that must be applied to solve a problem by applying a finite number of elementary steps.
What is an algorithm in computer terms
An algorithm for computers is a procedure applied to solve a specific problem by means of a finite sequence of instructions to be performed in a specific order.
A computer algorithm, among other things, must necessarily show these particular characteristics: each single instruction cannot be divided into smaller units and can only be interpreted in one way. The execution of the algorithm must take place in a finite number of steps and lead to an unequivocal answer.
How do we represent an algorithm?
Algorithms are often shown as flow diagrams and comply with 5 conceptual steps: start, entry/exit, processing, control, end.
See the representation of a funny algorithm in the picture above.