What is an Algorithm in Data Structures?

An algorithm is defined as a step-by-step procedure or method for solving a problem by a computer in a finite number of steps. Steps of an algorithm definition may include branching or repetition depending upon what problem the algorithm is being developed for. While defining an algorithm steps are written in human understandable language and independent of any programming language. We can implement it in any programming language of our choice.

Besides merely being a finite set of rules which gives a sequence of operations for solving a specific type of problem, a well defined algorithm has five important features:

  • Finiteness. An algorithm must always terminate after a finite number of steps.
  • Definiteness. Each step of an algorithm must be precisely defined; the actions to be carried out must be rigorously and unambiguously specified for each case.
  • Input. An algorithm has zero or more inputs, i.e, quantities which are given to it initially before the algorithm begins.
  • Output. An algorithm has one or more outputs i.e, quantities which have a specified relation to the inputs.
  • Effectiveness. An algorithm is also generally expected to be effective. This means that all of the operations to be performed in the algorithm must be sufficiently basic that they can in principle be done exactly and in a finite length of time.

In practice we not only want algorithm definitions, we want good algorithm definitions in some loosely-defined aesthetic sense. One criterion of goodness is the length of time taken to perform the algorithm. Other criteria are the adaptability of the algorithm to computers, its simplicity and elegance, etc.




Get Free Tutorials by Email

About the Author

is the main author for cs-fundamentals.com. He is a software professional (post graduated from BITS-Pilani) and loves writing technical articles on programming and data structures.

Today's Tech News

Bees 'go online' in ManchesterPosted on Friday September 22, 2017

Rory visits a beekeeper in Manchester who is gluing wireless chips to his bees.

The long wait for a Persian iPhone keyboardPosted on Friday September 22, 2017

The new Apple's iOS has Persian keyboard. BBC Persian's Sam Farzaneh discusses why it is an important feature.

Uber London loses licence to operatePosted on Friday September 22, 2017

Ride-hailing app Uber is "not fit and proper" to operate in London, the transport regulator says.

Courtesy BBC News

AD BLOCKER DETECTED!

Advertisements help running this site for free.


To view the content please disable AdBlocker and refresh the page.

×