In its most general sense, an algorithm is any set of detailed instructions which results in a predictable endstate from a known beginning. Algorithms are only as good as the instructions given, however, and the result will be incorrect if the algorithm is not properly defined.
A common example of an algorithm would be instructions for assembling a model airplane. Given the starting set of a number of marked pieces, one can follow the instructions given to result in a predictable endstate: the completed airplane. Misprints in the instructions, or a failure to properly follow a step, will result in a faulty end product.
A computer program is another pervasive example. Every computer program is simply a series of instructions, which may vary in complexity, and is listed in a specific order, designed to perform a specific task. Mathematics also uses algorithms to solve equations by hand, without the use of a calculator. One last example is the human brain: most conceptions of the human brain define all behavior — from the acquisition of food to falling in love — as the result of a complex algorithm.
While there is no universally accepted breakdown for the various types of algorithms, there are common classes that algorithms are frequently agreed to belong to. Among these are:
In addition to these general classes, algorithms may also be divided into two primary groups: serial algorithms, which are designed for serial execution, wherein each operation is enacted in a linear order; and parallel algorithms, used with computers running parallel processors, wherein a number of operations are run parallel to each other. Parallel algorithms also exist in the natural world in the case of, for example, genetic mutation over a species.
anon343469 Post 64 
Can I get a difference between an algorithm and a class in pictures and explanations please? 
anon330226 Post 62 
What are three ways to write algorithms and three types of instruction? 
anon303732 Post 58 
What are the criteria someone needs to use in executing a problem in a flowchart or algorithm? 
anon278068 Post 55 
I did not realize an algorithm was essentially a flow chart. 
anon277917 Post 54 
response 251646: Good example that can be reversed. Some people and animals are tired and need body movement to energize and thus become really tired and sleep well. 
anon275709 Post 53 
Isn't religion an algorithm of preferred response? 
anon258692 Post 51 
sql statements are algorithms. 
anon251464 Post 50 
Example of algorithm: Are you tired? Yes: Go to bed No: Ride a bike Are you tired? Yes: Go to bed No: Ride a bike

anon206605 Post 46 
I am a school girl and need info on an algorithm for using a CD (for my project). Your post was very useful. 
anon167803 Post 45 
What is the importance of algorithms? 
anon162211 Post 42 
write an algorithm for a program that prompts the user to enter five test scores, calculate the total of the five tests and find the weighted average of each test assuming that each tests weighs 20 percent.

anon159439 Post 41 
Can you give the difference between the bruteforce algorithm and the greedy algorithm? 
anon120879 Post 39 
Can you give an example of an algorithm please? 
anon114385 Post 37 
what is the difference between an algorithm and pseudocode? please explain with examples. 
anon108198 Post 36 
I just want to know the steps in creating an algorithm. 
anon99972 Post 34 
An algorithm is like a predetermined pattern to be followed for a predetermined result. A common algorithm of a rubik's cube is down, left, up, side. Obviously, it is much more complex to solve the rubik's. There are about 56 algorithms to follow. Hope this helps. 
anon90999 Post 32 
what is an algorithm? is it related to computer programming? 
anon84157 Post 31 
What are properties of an algorithm? 
anon79694 Post 30 
What mathematics course do I start learning Algorithms in? sorry for asking but I am currently studying computer networking but I do not have the math skills needed yet. So I haven't got the chance to learn about them. 
anon74204 Post 29 
How do you write an algorithm to input the price of a text book and then calculate the price and print the total cost of the book after 15% VAT is added? 
anon63492 Post 28 
can you explain algorithms and give examples please? 
anon56603 Post 27 
Given a problem (i.e. a question, such as "What is 2+2?" or "What are the prime factors of 1729?") an algorithm is a description of a method for a computer to answer that problem. Another way to think of it is that some mathematical proofs (e.g. the proof of the Chinese Remainder Theorem) are "constructive"; they give procedures for calculating the values which satisfy the theorem. Such procedures, if they can be expressed to a computer, are in fact algorithms. 
anon53298 Post 25 
what are the properties of an algorithm? 
anon50377 Post 24 
Why can algorithms be known as steps? It is because i'm doing a science project which i have to devise an algorithm to figure out a rubiks cube. Is it possible? what is it? 
anon49579 Post 23 
Big words. Couldn't it be known just as processes? 
anon47896 Post 21 
what is an algorithm? is it different from pseudocode in any way? 
anon44686 Post 20 
I want to know some basic tips how to learn brute force algorithm for biology and something about time complexity. Can any one answer this. 
anon44430 Post 19 
I want to learn about algorithms. Can you give detailed information of algorithms? 
anon40222 Post 18 
is algorithm really a challenage for me as a programmer? is algorithm really that hard to understand? 
esha3181 Post 16 
Can you please tell me which is the course for learning cryptography?? im a commerce graduate and how do i start learning algorithms?? base content for a beginner like me. Please advise. 
tealann Post 14 
please give an example of an algorithm 
shakirah Post 12 
What are the principles of algorithm designs? 
Lennox Post 10 
Why are nonlinear algorithms superior to linear ones when working with selflearning optimization? 
anon21204 Post 9 
can you give an example of algorithm? 
anon7048 Post 4 
Can you give an example of algorithm?

anon5151 Post 3 
what is/are the criteria of an algorithm?? 
anon4611 Post 2 
Can you give an example of an algorithm please?
