UMBC CMSC 201 Fall '05CSEE | 201 | 201 F'05 | lectures | news | help |

- Informally -- a general method for solving a problem.
- According to Webster...
**al.go.rithm***\'al-g*-.rith-*m\ n [alter. of ME algorisme, fr. OF & ML; OF, fr. ML algorismus, fr. Ar] al-khuwa-rizmi, fr. al-Khuwa-rizmi fl 825 A.D. Arab mathematician]*a rule of procedure for solving a mathematical problem (as of finding the greatest common divisor) that frequently involves repetition of an operation.

- Well defined -- it is clearly and unambiguously specified.
- Effective -- its steps are executable.
- Finite -- it terminates after a bounded number of steps.

- e.g., it is not possible to sort a list of
*N*numbers in fewer than than*N*log(N)*basic steps where a basic step is comparing two numbers in the list.

CSEE | 201 | 201 F'05 | lectures | news | help