(algorithm, programming) A detailed sequence of actions to perform to accomplish some task. Named after the Iranian, Islamic mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and geographer, Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.Technically, an algorithm must reach a result after a finite number of steps, thus ruling out brute force search methods for certain problems, though some might claim that brute force search was also a valid (generic) algorithm. The term is also used loosely for any sequence of actions (which may or may not terminate). Paul E. Black's Dictionary of Algorithms, Data Structures, and Problems.
Last updated: 2002-02-05