Reference work entry

An algorithm is a process that consists of a sequence of well-defined steps that lead to the solution of a particular type of problem.

This process can be iterative, meaning that it is repeated several times. It is generally a numerical process.


The term algorithm comes from the Latin pronunciation of the name of the ninth century mathematician al-Khwarizmi, who lived in Baghdad and was the father of algebra.


The word algorithm has taken on a different meaning in recent years due to the advent of computers. In the field of computing, it refers to a process that is described in a way that can be used in a computer program.

The principal goal of statistical software is to develop a programming language capable of incorporating statistical algorithms, so that these algorithms can then be presented in a form that is comprehensible to the user. The advantage of this approach is that the user understands the results produced by the algorithm and trusts the...

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    Chambers, J.M.: Computational Methods for Data Analysis. Wiley, New York (1977)Google Scholar
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    Khwarizmi, Musa ibn Meusba (9th cent.). Jabr wa-al-muqeabalah. The algebra of Mohammed ben Musa, Rosen, F. (ed. and transl.). Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim (1986)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rashed, R.: La naissance de l'algèbre. In: Noël, E. (ed.) Le Matin des Mathématiciens. Belin-Radio France, Paris (1985)Google Scholar

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