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# Algorithm

a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor.
Contemporary Examples

The algorithm is forever ratcheting up spending and ratcheting down revenues.
Why Jerry Brown’s Bid to Fix California’s Budget Isn’t Working Joe Mathews May 14, 2012

“At the most basic level, the algorithm helps people make tough decisions—or any decisions really,” he says.
ChoiceMap: An App to Help You Make Better Decisions Brian Ries January 21, 2014

It’s leveraging its user base to make it more the algorithm more intelligent.
Amiigo Tracker Pairs Data With Deadlifts Gregory Ferenstein August 3, 2014

The answer, not surprisingly, is hidden in an algorithm that Google never quite explains.
Google’s Bizarre Blacklist Brian Ries October 3, 2010

Asked what happens if the algorithm suggests one thing, but his gut suggests something else, Jackson says he pauses and thinks.
ChoiceMap: An App to Help You Make Better Decisions Brian Ries January 21, 2014

Through his logic, Google should release the algorithm it uses.
Punching Back at WikiLeaks Howard Kurtz December 6, 2010

In addition to tracking favorability ratings, the Oracle also uses an algorithm to make predictions about the election outcome.
Election Oracle Methodology December 29, 2011

“Today we will learn the algorithm for receiving presents,” the instructor tells her students.
Russia’s Gold Digger Academy Peter Pomerantsev November 10, 2014

As long as that double-standard persists, no algorithm can fix its injustice.
Facebook Apologizes For, but Doesn’t Retract, Discriminatory ‘Real Name’ Policy Jay Michaelson September 30, 2014

Historical Examples

Then the CAD people added an algorithm that would take the sensor data and generate random variations on the same basis.
Makers Cory Doctorow

noun
a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem Compare heuristic
(logic, maths) a recursive procedure whereby an infinite sequence of terms can be generated
n.

1690s, from French algorithme, refashioned (under mistaken connection with Greek arithmos “number”) from Old French algorisme “the Arabic numeral system” (13c.), from Medieval Latin algorismus, a mangled transliteration of Arabic al-Khwarizmi “native of Khwarazm,” surname of the mathematician whose works introduced sophisticated mathematics to the West (see algebra). The earlier form in Middle English was algorism (early 13c.), from Old French.

algorithm al·go·rithm (āl’gə-rĭð’əm)
n.
A step-by-step protocol, as for management of health care problems.
algorithm
(āl’gə-rĭ’əm)
A finite set of unambiguous instructions performed in a prescribed sequence to achieve a goal, especially a mathematical rule or procedure used to compute a desired result. Algorithms are the basis for most computer programming.
algorithm [(al-guh-rith-uhm)]

A set of instructions for solving a problem, especially on a computer. An algorithm for finding your total grocery bill, for example, would direct you to add up the costs of individual items to find the total.
algorithm, programming
A detailed sequence of actions to perform to accomplish some task. Named after the Iranian, Islamic mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and geographer, Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.
Technically, an algorithm must reach a result after a finite number of steps, thus ruling out brute force search methods for certain problems, though some might claim that brute force search was also a valid (generic) algorithm. The term is also used loosely for any sequence of actions (which may or may not terminate).
Paul E. Black’s Dictionary of Algorithms, Data Structures, and Problems (http://nist.gov/dads/).
(2002-02-05)

Tagged:

• Algorithm description

algorithm description language (ALDES) [“The Algorithm Description Language ALDES”, R.G.K. Loos, SIGSAM Bull 14(1):15-39 (Jan 1976)]. (1995-04-19)

• Algorithmic

a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor. noun a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem Compare heuristic (logic, maths) a recursive procedure whereby an infinite sequence of terms can be generated adj. […]

• Algorithmic assembly language

algorithmic assembly language language (ALIAS) A machine oriented variant of BLISS. ALIAS was implemented in BCPL for the PDP-9. [“ALIAS”, H.E. Barreveld, Int Rep, Math Dept, Delft U Tech, Netherlands, 1973]. (1997-03-13)

• Algorithmic language

. Algol 60

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