## anytime algorithm

(algorithm) An algorithm that returns a sequence of approximations to the correct answer such that each approximation is no worse than the previous one, i.e. the algorithm can be stopped at _any time_.

Newton-Raphson iteration applied to finding the square root of a number b is another example:

x = (x + b / x) / 2Each new x is closer to the square root than the previous one.

Applications might include a real-time control system or a chess program that is allowed a fixed thinking time.

Last updated: 2007-06-19

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