Algorithms defined

(Note the five parts)

An algorithm is a well- ordered collection

Instructions are executed in some well-defined order under control of the algorithmic (infra)structure.

of unambiguous (operations)

E.g. An ambiguous set of steps would allow for two (or more) possible outcomes without a means to differentiate.

and effectively computable operations

E.g. A non-effective algorithm: list the set of prime numbers. Must be able to decide whether a program always halts.

that when executed produces a result

A cake, a prescription, or a number representation.

and halts in a finite amount of time.

Eventually it is done. It still may be too costly to actually execute.


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Last Updated 01/05/2000
© L.Heath, 2000