1.2. AlgorithmsΒΆ

An algorithm is a step by step list of instructions that if followed exactly will solve the problem under consideration.

Our goal in programming is to take a problem and develop an algorithm that can serve as a general solution. Once we have such a solution, we can express it as a program and use our computer to automate the execution. These programs are written in programming languages.

Check your understanding

    intro-2-1: An algorithm is:
  • A solution to a problem that can be solved by a computer.
  • While it is true that algorithms often do solve problems, this is not the best answer. An algorithm is more than just the solution to the problem for a computer. An algorithm can be used to solve all sorts of problems, including those that have nothing to do with computers.
  • A step by step sequence of instructions that if followed exactly will solve the problem under consideration.
  • Algorithms are like recipes: they must be followed exactly, they must be clear and unambiguous, and they must end.
  • A series of instructions implemented in a programming language.
  • Programming languages are used to express algorithms, but an algorithm does not have to be expressed in terms of a programming language.
  • A special kind of notation used by programmers.
  • Programmers sometimes use a special notation to illustrate or document an algorithm, but this is not the definition of an algorithm.
Next Section - 1.3. The Python Programming Language