In the modern world most people think of algorithms as computer-generated programs. Algorithms are actually step-by-step procedures in order to complete an operation. An algorithm can be as simple as a recipe or as complicated as a computer program designed to help you search on the Internet. No matter what type of algorithm it is, a process is required to get from the beginning to the end result by following specific steps.
Computer algorithms are written by programmers in order to tell the computer what order to process information in so the desired result is attained. The algorithms can do everything from run searches to sort data to complicated processing tasks which make programs function. The algorithm can evolve as the computer works through the series of tasks laid out by the programmer. With each change by the user, the program will work the algorithm to come up with the solution. For websites, the algorithm is how search engines prioritize the sites when users are looking for particular key words. Algorithms can also be used for encryption. This is a way to protect information on a computer by running a sequence in a different order than others would be seeking it. This allows the program to keep private data from being discovered as it sends other programs on a wrong path leading the intruder to a dead end.
Problem Solving, Sequential Analysis
Often times you use an algorithm to solve problems, sometimes you might not even know it. Whether you are working a math equation or trying to get the answer to a literary question there is a particular order in which you do your tasks. This algorithm changes depending on whether you are looking at something that is multiple choice or fill in the blank. Flow charts can be designed by teachers or companies in order to encourage people to solve problems in a particular order. This helps to ensure particular departments are aware of things that are going on in other areas of the company or school.
Logical Thinking, Diagnosis
Logical thinking algorithms are often designed to take you through a linear path of consequential results: if this, then this. Many times the path can be written out as a tree of choice leading you to the end conclusion. These types of algorithms are particularly helpful in the medical field. By grouping certain symptoms together, a doctor can make a diagnosis. The algorithm is taught in medical school and grows as the physician gains real world experience and deals with varying illnesses and differing presentations of diseases. This type of algorithm also helps you write a logical paper or thesis by walking through step-by-step in order to prove your point.
Recipes or Directions
Considered the simplest of algorithms, directions are a process that take you to the completion of a task making these steps into an algorithm. A recipe begins with a list of ingredients and takes you through making a particular dish. This algorithm ensures the food comes out the same as it has in the past so you can have consistency when cooking. Directions for putting things together help you properly build or make different types of products based on the supplies you have been given. Algorithms are often included when you purchase a new product in order to help you set up or use the product properly. Examples include electronics, assembly required furniture and appliances.
Pharaba Witt has worked as a writer in Los Angeles for more than 10 years. She has written for websites such as USA Today, Red Beacon, LIVESTRONG, WiseGeek, Web Series Network, Nursing Daily and major film studios. When not traveling she enjoys outdoor activities such as backpacking, snowboarding, ice climbing and scuba diving. She is constantly researching equipment and seeking new challenges.