algorithm

  

Definition

Step by step procedure designed to perform an operation, and which (like a map or flowchart) will lead to the sought result if followed correctly. Algorithms have a definite beginning and a definite end, and a finite number of steps. An algorithm produces the same output information given the same input information, and several short algorithms can be combined to perform complex tasks such as writing a computer program. A cookbook recipe, a diagnosis, a problem solving routine, are some common examples of simple algorithms. Suitable for solving structured problems (amenable to sequential analysis) algorithms are, however, unsuitable for problems where value judgments are required. See also heuristics and lateral thinking.

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