noun \ˈal-gə-ˌri-thəm\

: a set of steps that are followed in order to solve a mathematical problem or to complete a computer process

Full Definition of ALGORITHM

:  a procedure for solving a mathematical problem (as of finding the greatest common divisor) in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation; broadly :  a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer
al·go·rith·mic \ˌal-gə-ˈrith-mik\ adjective
al·go·rith·mi·cal·ly \-mi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb


alteration of Middle English algorisme, from Old French & Medieval Latin; Old French, from Medieval Latin algorismus, from Arabic al-khuwārizmi, from al-Khwārizmī fl a.d. 825 Islamic mathematician
First Known Use: 1926

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms

abscissa, denominator, divisor, equilateral, exponent, hypotenuse, logarithm, oblique, radii, rhomb


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Procedure that produces the answer to a question or the solution to a problem in a finite number of steps. An algorithm that produces a yes or no answer is called a decision procedure; one that leads to a solution is a computation procedure. A mathematical formula and the instructions in a computer program are examples of algorithms. Euclid's Elements (c. 300 BC) contained an algorithm for finding the greatest common divisor of two integers. Manipulation of lists (searching for, inserting, and removing items) can be done efficiently by using algorithms.


Next Word in the Dictionary: algorithmics
Previous Word in the Dictionary: algorist
All Words Near: algorithm

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up algorithm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).