# Algorithm

A step-by-step procedure for achieving a certain IO behavior

## Illustration

See greatest common divisor and linear search for examples of an algorithm which is described both semi-formally and in an actual programming language.

## Citation

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithm, 14 April 2013)

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm ... is a step-by-step procedure for calculations. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning.

More precisely, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list ... of well-defined instructions ... for calculating a function. ... Starting from an initial state and initial input (perhaps empty), ... the instructions describe a computation that, when executed, proceeds through a finite ... number of well-defined successive states, eventually producing "output" ... and terminating at a final ending state. The transition from one state to the next is not necessarily deterministic; some algorithms, known as randomized algorithms, incorporate random input.

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