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Poems That Solve PuzzlesThe History and Science of Algorithms$
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Chris Bleakley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198853732

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198853732.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Poems That Solve Puzzles

Chris Bleakley

Oxford University Press

The Introduction explains what an algorithms is, provides three examples, and exposes the relationship between algorithms and computers. An algorithm is a sequence of well-defined steps which solve an information problem. The chapter begins with the simple example of an algorithm for sharing sweets. The chapter highlights the elegance of effective algorithms and shows how they are written down. It then moves on to explain a straight-forward algorithm for sorting books. An alternative algorithm for more quickly sorting books is presented and contrasted. By definition, a computer is a machine that performs algorithms. The chapter explains how algorithms are the underlying methods that computers follow to process data and make decisions.

Keywords:   algorithm, sorting, computer, program, hardware, software

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