What Are Algorithms?

Although I guess most of you know exactly what an algorithm is, I felt anyways that I needed to give a small definition, before I’ll be able to cover specific (types) of algorithms.

When dealing with problems in computer science one generally looks at the ‘theory’ behind solving the problem and the actual implementation separately. Thus an algorithm can informally be defined as the way/idea on how to solve a certain problem, but it often won’t contain an actual implementation to keep a very general layer.

A formal definition of what an algorithm is, can be quite philosophical and complex and is only needed, if you for example have to prove that there doesn’t exist an algorithm for a given problem. Anyways I won’t be going any deeper on that topic and I often won’t stay very general and will give C++ implementations to most of the algorithms.

The course at the university is in fact called “Algorithm and Datastructures”, thus you can imagine that I’ll be also looking at different datastructures. In essence are datastructures also algorithm; they solve the problem of efficiently storing and retrieving data and make use of various other algorithms for their implementation (i.e. a heap sorts its node in a certain way, as describe by an algorithm).

All in all not a very interesting or in-depth article, but it seemed important anyways. Of course if you’re all about knowledge go read the Wikipedia article and start click your way from there into the wildness of the internet.

Stay tuned for further updates! :-)

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