Pronunciation: /ˈæl gəˌrɪð əm/ Explain

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. Harris, Simon; Ross, James . Beginning Algorithms. Wrox. November 7, 2005. Last Accessed 8/6/2018. Buy the book
  2. Michael Goodrich. Algorithm Design: Foundations, Analysis, and Internet Examples. Wiley. October 1, 2001. Last Accessed 8/6/2018. Buy the book

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Algorithm. 6/13/2018. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.

Revision History

6/13/2018: Removed broken links, updated license, implemented new markup. (McAdams, David E.)
3/3/2010: Added "References". (McAdams, David E.)
10/5/2008: Expanded 'More Information'. (McAdams, David E.)
3/25/2008: Changed More Information to match current standard. (McAdams, David E.)
2/3/2008: Changed 'set of instructions' to 'set of steps'. Added generalization of algorithms. (McAdams, David E.)
7/12/2007: Initial Version. (McAdams, David E.)

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