As an algorithm we call an ordered and finite set of simple operations through which we can find the solution to a problem.
The word, as such, comes from the late Latin alborarismus, and this in turn is an abbreviation of classical Arabic ḥisābu lḡubār, which means ‘calculation using Arabic numerals’.
Algorithms allow us to execute an action or solve a problem through a series of defined, ordered and finite instructions. Thus, given an initial state and an entry, and following the successive steps indicated, the final state is reached and a solution is obtained.
Although it is a common term in areas such as mathematics, computer science, logic and other related disciplines, the truth is that in everyday life we also use algorithms to solve issues.
Examples of algorithms, then, are not only computer programs, but also that manual that explains, step by step, how to assemble the library or activate the cell phone we buy. Even a recipe is an algorithm.
In mathematics, some examples of algorithms are multiplication, where we follow a sequence of operations to obtain the product; the division, which allows us to determine the quotient of two numbers, as well as the Euclid algorithm, with which we draw the greatest common divisor of two positive integers.
Likewise, an algorithm can be traced, for example, in a flow chart where each of the tasks to be performed is specified, with its actions and its possible alternatives, until the final fulfillment of the task.
In computer science or programming, the algorithm is the sequence of instructions by which we can solve a problem or issue. In fact, all the tasks executed by the computer are based on algorithms. A software or computer program is designed based on algorithms, so that we can introduce a task into it and solve it.