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# algorithm

[ **al**-g*uh*-ri*th*-*uh*m ]

## noun

*Mathematics.*a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, such as the Euclidean algorithm for finding the greatest common divisor.*Computers.*an ordered set of instructions recursively applied to transform data input into processed data output, such as a mathematical solution, search engine result, descriptive statistics, or predictive text suggestions.

algorithm

/ ˈælɡəˌrɪðəm /

## noun

- a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem Compare heuristic
- logic maths a recursive procedure whereby an infinite sequence of terms can be generated

algorithm

/ ăl**′**gə-rĭth′əm /

- A finite set of unambiguous instructions performed in a prescribed sequence to achieve a goal, especially a mathematical rule or procedure used to compute a desired result. Algorithms are the basis for most computer programming.

algorithm

- A set of instructions for solving a problem, especially on a computer. An algorithm for finding your total grocery bill, for example, would direct you to add up the costs of individual items to find the total.

## Derived Forms

**ˌalgoˈrithmically**, adverb**ˌalgoˈrithmic**, adjective

## Other Words From

**al·go·rith·mic**[al-g, uh, -, rith, -mik], adjective

## Word History and Origins

Origin of algorithm^{1}

*Greek*

*arithmós*“number”; arithmetic ( def )

## Word History and Origins

Origin of algorithm^{1}

*arithmos*number

## Example Sentences

Since she posted her tutorial on Kapwing’s YouTube channel, a number of other YouTubers have also made tutorials using the same copy-and-pasted algorithm.

The researchers trained their algorithm on already-parsed datasets collected by NASA’s retired, planet-hunting Kepler mission.

These updates are real — Google announced a core algorithm update on May 4, after all — but you don’t need to worry.

Rather than relying on semiconductor physics and silicon-fabrication technology, though, we need to turn to innovations in software, algorithms, and hardware, says a group of leading experts.

Whenever Google updates her algorithm, there will be traffic losses and gains.

“Today we will learn the algorithm for receiving presents,” the instructor tells her students.

As long as that double-standard persists, no algorithm can fix its injustice.

Based on these results, the research group produced an emotion recognition algorithm.

It's leveraging its user base to make it more the algorithm more intelligent.

The biggest challenge for the Amiigo before its 2015 launch is perfecting the training portion of the algorithm.

The gnomes were slightly lewd-looking, and they were the product of a generative algorithm that varied each one.

Then the CAD people added an algorithm that would take the sensor data and generate random variations on the same basis.

Evolutionary algorithm used to produce a minimum-materials/maximum-strength chassis.

We still use the word algorithm in reference to calculations.

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## Related Words

## More about Algorithm

### What is an *algorithm*?

An *algorithm* is a set of instructions or rules that can be followed to solve a problem.

*Algorithms* are most commonly used in mathematics and computing, and they can often be very complex or have many steps or sets of instructions.

For example, your teacher asks you to add 537 and 162. You might solve the problem by lining up 162 under 537 and adding the columns of numbers together. You add the 7 and 2 in the ones column to get 9, Next, you add the numbers in the tens column (3 and 6) to get 9. Finally, you add 5 and 1 in the hundreds column and get 6. Your answer, then, is 699. You have followed an addition *algorithm* to find the solution.

In computing, a computer coder will create a set of instructions (the *algorithm*) that a computer or artificial intelligence will use to solve a problem or will consult in order to achieve a goal. Let’s say you spend the day watching Star Wars videos on YouTube. With each video you watch, the website will recommend other videos it thinks you will like. How does it know what you like? It runs an *algorithm* that finds videos that are similar to the ones you’ve already watched. If Darth Vader shows up in a video of a car commercial, YouTube will likely recommend it to you to watch because Vader was in a lot of the Star Wars videos you’ve already watched.

### Why is *algorithm* important?

The first records of the term *algorithm* come from around 1690. It is a variation of the older word *algorism*, which ultimately comes from the name of the ninth-century mathematician Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. Actual *algorithms* have been used in math since ancient times. The Euclidean *algorithm*, for example, was thought up by the Greek mathematician Euclid around 300 b.c.e.

Just by using the internet, you have very likely run into an *algorithm*—or at least the results of one. Search engines use *algorithms* to figure out what order to put search results in, websites use them to determine which ads to show you, and social media websites use them to decide which of your friends’ posts you are most likely to want to see.

Many websites keep the specifics of how their *algorithm* works a secret. They do this in order to prevent users from exploiting or abusing the *algorithm* to guarantee it selects their content over everyone else’s. For example, if a user knew that YouTube’s recommendation *algorithm* prioritizes videos that are exactly four minutes long, they could create hundreds of four-minute videos to trick the *algorithm* into showing their videos to the majority of YouTube users.

### Did you know … ?

Many *algorithms* used on websites are designed to adjust themselves and learn the best ways to accomplish problems. Because of this, *algorithms* will often behave in ways their designers never expected. An *algorithm* can even change itself to the point that even the original creator has no idea how it works anymore.

### What are real-life examples of *algorithm*?

This video gives a simplified explanation of how computing *algorithms* work:

<iframe loading="lazy" title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6hfOvs8pY1k" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Many people have become familiar (and annoyed) with *algorithms*, thanks to their increasingly common use in computing.

honestly i have no idea what i've done but twitter's algorithm is 100% convinced i'm a farmer

— CarolineJMolloy (@carolinejmolloy) August 26, 2020

### What other words are related to algorithm?

### Quiz yourself!

**Is the following a correct use of algorithm?**

*Rather than follow a set of instructions, the website instead uses an algorithm that randomly selects which advertisements to show users.*

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