What is an algorithm?
A sequence of steps, or a set of rules, for executing a certain activity or solving a particular problem is known as an algorithm. In other words, it is a road map to accomplish a complicated task. From the tea-making recipe, doing laundry, basic functions for performing different mathematical operations, to the procedure for solving a complicated mathematical problem, algorithms are almost everywhere.
How do algorithms work?
A software developer may write an algorithm in whatever programming language they prefer. However, while writing an algorithm, input is accepted and output is produced, which modifies the data involved in some way. As a result, algorithms are made up of two basic components – input and output.
The input is the data that is altered to produce the result during the computation. An algorithm should have at least 0 described inputs all around it. Input precision involves an understanding of the type of data to be entered, as well as the amount and structure of that data.
The information obtained as a result of the computation is the output. At least one all-around described output is required for an algorithm, and the ideal output should be coordinated. Exactness in output also demands the knowledge of what kind of information, how much, and in what format the output should be.
Pre-requisite for writing an algorithm
The following items are required as a pre-requisite for writing an algorithm:
- The task/problem
- The problem’s restrictions, which must be taken into account when addressing the problem
- The information that will be used to address the problem
- The predicted outcome once the problem has been addressed
- In the given restrictions, the solution of the problem
Why do we need an algorithm?
Algorithms play a crucial role in computer science. The best algorithm ensures that the computer completes the task in the most efficient manner. When it comes to efficiency, a good algorithm is really essential. An algorithm is extremely important for optimizing a computer program.
The features of an effective algorithm are –
- Grasping the fundamental concept of the problem
- To comprehend the problem’s flow
- It provides the designer with a concise definition of the problem’s needs and aim.
- Discover a solution to the situation
- Enhance the effectiveness of existing methods
- It compares the algorithm’s performance to that of other approaches.
- It is the easiest way to describe something without going into too much detail about how it works.
- To assess the techniques’ performance in all circumstances (best cases, worst cases, and average cases)
- To determine the algorithm’s resource requirements (memory, input-output cycles).
- We can evaluate and assess the complexity (in terms of time and space) of input size problems without developing and executing them that ultimately lowers the cost.
We will have to recognize and decide on trade-offs on a regular basis. In addition to our ability to solve problems, we will need to acquire solution evaluation techniques. A problem can be solved in a number of ways. So, an algorithm is necessary for finding a solution and then assessing if it is acceptable for addressing a particular issue again and over again or not.
Characteristics of an algorithm
Standard instructions are followed while writing an algorithm. The conditions for a set of instructions to be considered an algorithm are –
If an algorithm requires inputs, those inputs should be well-defined.
The algorithm must explicitly indicate what output will be produced, and it should be well-defined.
Clear and Unambiguous
The algorithm should be simple and comprehensive. Each of its steps should be distinct in every way and lead to a single conclusion.
Algorithms must come to a halt after a certain number of steps.
The algorithm must be simple, general, and practical, and it must be able to be run with the resources available. It should not incorporate any futuristic technology.
Step-by-step instructions should be included in an algorithm, and they should be independent of any programming code.