COMPUTER SCIENCES
Introduction to Algorithms
General Algorithm History
Algorithms were used to solve every day problems long before computers were
ever invented. In fact algorithms have been used for so long they were named for the ninth
century mathematician, AlKhowarizmi. Algorithms have been used for centuries to solve the
most complex problems that humanity has encountered. One of the most famous algorithms
was imagined in ancient greece. Euclid’s algorithm for calculating the greatest common divisor
of two integers had and still does have impacts in the mathematical world. The importance of
algorithms in today’s society should not be underestimated. The computer, for example, would
have no purpose since almost all programs are written using an algorithmic approach.
“A formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem. To be an algorithm, a set of
rules must be unambiguous and have a clear stopping point. Algorithms can be expressed
in any language, from natural languages like English or French to programming languages
like FORTRAN.
We use algorithms every day. For example, a recipe for baking a cake is an algorithm.
Most programs, with the exception of some artificial intelligence applications, consist of
algorithms. Inventing elegant algorithms — algorithms that are simple and require the fewest
steps possible — is one of the principal challenges in programming.”
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