Sunday, April 9, 2017

Algorithm

What might be the earliest-known entry of the word "algorithm" in a dictionary can be found in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language from 1785.



The entry on page 130 reads (approximately): algorithm: Arabic words, which are used to imply the six operations of arithmetic, or the science of numbers.

Today, "algorithm" is defined as:
- A well-defined procedure to solve a problem.
- A clearly specified set of simple instructions to be followed to solve a problem.
- A finite, deterministic, and effective problem-solving method.
- An explicit, precise, unambiguous, mechanically-executable sequence of elementary instructions.1

1. This last item is from Jeff Erickson's algorithms notes