- The definition of an algorithm is a specific and logical procedure to be followed in order to achieve specific results, or to solve a math problem.
- An example of a very basic algorithm is the procedure in math that dictates how to add double (or more) digit numbers together in order to achieve the correct answer.
- An example of an algorithm is the process that Google uses in its search engine to ensure high quality informational results when the user enters search terms.

## algorithm

noun

- Math.
- any systematic method of solving a certain kind of problem
- the repetitive calculations used in finding the greatest common divisor of two numberscalled in full Euclidean algorithm

- Comput. a predetermined set of instructions for solving a specific problem in a limited number of steps

Origin of algorithm

altered (after arithmetic) ; from algorism*Related Forms:*

- algorithmic
adjective

## algorithm

noun

Origin of algorithm

Variant (probably influenced by**arithmetic**) of

**algorism**.

*Related Forms:*

**al′go·rith′mic**adjective

**al′go·rith′mi·cal·ly**adverb

**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

(*plural* algorithms)

- A precise step-by-step plan for a computational procedure that possibly begins with an input value and yields an output value in a finite number of steps.
- (archaic) Calculation with Arabic numerals; algorism.

- Though some technical definitions require that an algorithm always terminate in a finite number of steps, this distinction is not generally observed in practice.

From French *algorithme*; from the Old French *algorisme* (“the Arabic numeral system”), a modification likely due to a mistaken connection with Ancient Greek *ἀριθμός* (arithmos); from Medieval Latin *algorismus*, a transliteration of Arabicized form of the name of the Persian mathematician al-Khwārizmī (*الخوارزمي* (“native of Khwarezm”)).

## algorithm - Computer Definition

A logical, systematic, step-by-step procedure for solving a mathematical problem.

A set of rules and procedures for resolving a mathematical and/or logical problem, much as a recipe in a cookbook helps baffled cooks in the kitchen resolve meal problems. A computer program can be viewed as an elaborate algorithm, and in computer science, an algorithm usually indicates a mathematical procedure for solving a recurrent problem. The word algorithm is believed to stem from the name of a mathematician at the Royal Court in Baghdad, Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi (780–850 a.c.).

Today, information security professionals in particular are concerned with cryptographic algorithms—those used to encrypt, or encode, messages. Different algorithms have different levels of complexity, which is related to key size. For example, a 41-bit key is twice as hard to crack, or decode, as a 40-bit key. A 128-bit key is a trillion times harder to crack than a 40-bit key.

See Also: Computer; Cryptography or “Crypto”; Encryption or Encipher.

Graham, R. Hacking Lexicon. [Online, 2001.] Robert Graham’s Website. http://www.linuxsecurity.com/resource_files/documentation/hacking-dict.html; TechTarget. SearchVB.com Definitions: Algorithm. [Online, July 6, 2004.] TechTarget Website. http:// searchvb.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid8_gci211545,00.html.

A set of ordered steps for solving a problem, such as a mathematical formula or the instructions in a program. The terms algorithm and "program logic" are synonymous as both refer to a sequence of steps to solve a problem. However, an algorithm often implies a more complex problem rather than the input-process-output logic of typical business software. See encryption algorithm.