Chapter 1

Introducing Algorithms


check Defining what is meant by algorithm

check Relying on computers to use algorithms to provide solutions

check Determining how issues differ from solutions

check Performing data manipulation so that you can find a solution

If you’re in the majority of people, you’re likely confused as you open this book and begin your adventure with algorithms because most texts never tell you what an algorithm is, much less why you’d want to use one. Most texts assume that you already know something about algorithms and that you are reading about them to refine and elevate your knowledge. Interestingly enough, some books actually provide a confusing definition for algorithm that doesn’t really define it after all, and sometimes even equates it to some other form of abstract, numeric, or symbolic expression.

The first section of this chapter is dedicated to helping you understand precisely what the term algorithm means and why you benefit from knowing how to use algorithms. Far from being arcane, algorithms are actually used all over the place, and you have probably used ...

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