Pronunciation: /ˈæl gəˌrɪð əm/ ?

An algorithm is a set of steps for doing a procedure or solving a mathematical problem.[1]

For example, the algorithm for solving the equation x + 3 = 5 is

  • Add -3 to both sides (additive property of equality), then
  • Simplify.

Algorithms are often generalized. The generalization of the algorithm above is: To solve equations in the form x + a = b:

  • Subtract a from both sides of the equation.
  • Simplify.


  1. algorithm. WordNet. Princeton University. (Accessed: 2011-01-08).
  2. Algorithms in Everyday Mathematics. University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. (Accessed: 2009-03-10).
  3. Harris, Simon; Ross, James . Beginning Algorithms. Wrox, November 7, 2005. (Accessed: 2010-03-03).
  4. Michael Goodrich. Algorithm Design: Foundations, Analysis, and Internet Examples. Wiley, October 1, 2001. (Accessed: 2010-03-03).

Printed Resources

Cite this article as:

Algorithm. 2010-03-03. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.


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Revision History

2010-03-03: Added "References" (McAdams, David.)
2008-10-05: Expanded 'More Information'. (McAdams, David.)
2008-03-25: Changed More Information to match current standard (McAdams, David.)
2008-02-03: Changed 'set of instructions' to 'set of steps'. Added generalization of algorithms.
2007-07-12: Initial Version (McAdams, David.)

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