# algorithm

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## al·go·rithm

(ăl′gə-rĭ*th*′əm)

*n.*

A finite set of unambiguous instructions that, given some set of initial conditions, can be performed in a prescribed sequence to achieve a certain goal and that has a recognizable set of end conditions.

[Variant (probably influenced by arithmetic) of algorism.]

**al′go·rith′mic**(-rĭ

*th*′mĭk)

*adj.*

**al′go·rith′mi·cal·ly**

*adv.*

**Because of its popularity over the last century, one might figure**

*Word History:**algorithm*for a new coinage. The source of

*algorithm,*however, is not Silicon Valley but Khwarizm, a region near the Aral Sea in south-central Asia and the birthplace of the ninth-century mathematician Muhammad ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi (780?-850?). Al-Khwarizmi, "the Khwarizmian," who later lived in Baghdad, wrote a treatise on what is called

*algorism,*or the use of Arabic numerals for mathematical computation. Despite the name by which the Arabic numerals are known in Europe, these symbols, as well as the methods for using them, were actually developed in ancient India. Europeans learned to use the numerals, however, through treatises written in Arabic by mathematicians working in the Muslim world.

*Algorism,*the English word for computation with Arabic numerals, is derived from Al-Khwarizmi's name. The word

*algorithm*originated as a variant spelling of

*algorism,*probably under the influence of the word

*arithmetic*or its Greek source

*arithmos,*"number." With the development of sophisticated mechanical computing devices in the 20th century,

*algorithm*was adopted as a convenient word for a recursive mathematical procedure, the computer's stock-in-trade. In its new life as a computer term,

*algorithm,*no longer a variant of

*algorism,*nevertheless reminds us of the debt that modern technology owes to the scientists and scholars of ancient and medieval times.

## algorithm

(ˈælɡəˌrɪðəm)*n*

**1.**(Mathematics) a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem. Compare heuristic

**2.**(Mathematics)

*logic*

*maths*a recursive procedure whereby an infinite sequence of terms can be generated

**algorism**

[C17: changed from algorism, through influence of Greek

*arithmos*number]**ˌalgoˈrithmic**

*adj*

**ˌalgoˈrithmically**

*adv*

## al•go•rithm

(ˈæl gəˌrɪð əm)*n.*

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

**2.**a sequence of steps designed for programming a computer to solve a specific problem.

**al`go•rith′mic,**

*adj.*

## al·go·rithm

(ăl′gə-rĭ*th*′əm)

A step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, especially a mathematical rule or procedure used to compute a desired result.

**algorithm**

any methodology for solving a certain kind of problem.

See also: MathematicsThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonyms

**Legend:**Switch to new thesaurus

Noun | 1. | algorithm - a precise rule (or set of rules) specifying how to solve some problemformula, rule - (mathematics) a standard procedure for solving a class of mathematical problems; "he determined the upper bound with Descartes' rule of signs"; "he gave us a general formula for attacking polynomials" sorting algorithm - an algorithm for sorting a list stemming algorithm, stemmer - an algorithm for removing inflectional and derivational endings in order to reduce word forms to a common stem |

Translations

**алгоритъм**

**algoritmus**

**algoritmi**

**algoritam**

**algoritma**

**reiknirit**

**アルゴリズム**

**algoritmas**

**algoritm**

## algorithm

[ˈælgərɪðəm]*n*→ algorithme

*m*

computer algorithm → algorithme informatique

*genetic algorithm*

## algorithm

## al·go·rithm

*n.*algoritmo, método aritmético y algebraico que se usa en el diagnóstico y tratamiento de una enfermedad.

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