algorithm


algorithm
\ \ [13] Algorithm comes from the name of an Arab mathematician, in full Abu Ja far Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi (c. 780–c. 850), who lived and taught in Baghdad and whose works in translation introduced Arabic numerals to the West. The last part of his name means literally ‘man from Khwarizm’, a town on the borders of Turkmenistan, now called Khiva.
\ \ The Arabic system of numeration and calculation, based on 10, of which he was the chief exponent, became known in Arabic by his name – al-khwarizmi. This was borrowed into medieval Latin as algorismus (with the Arabic -izmi transformed into the Latin suffix -ismus-ism’). In Old French algorismus became augorime, which was the basis of the earliest English form of the word, augrim. From the 14th century onwards, Latin influence gradually led to the adoption of the spelling algorism in English. This remains the standard form of the word when referring to the Arabic number system; but in the late 17th century an alternative version, algorithm, arose owing to association with Greek árithmosnumber’ (source of arithmetic [13]), and this became established from the 1930s onwards as the term for a stepby- step mathematical procedure, as used in computing. Algol, the name of a computer programming language, was coined in the late 1950s from ‘algorithmic language’.
\ \ Cf.ALLEGORY, ALLERGY, ARITHMETIC

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • algorithm — n. a precise rule (or set of rules) specifying how to solve some problem; a set of procedures guaranteed to find the solution to a problem. Syn: algorithmic rule, algorithmic program [WordNet 1.5 +PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • algorithm — [al′gə rith΄əm] n. [altered (after ARITHMETIC) < ALGORISM] 1. Math. a) any systematic method of solving a certain kind of problem b) the repetitive calculations used in finding the greatest common divisor of two numbers: called in full… …   English World dictionary

  • Algorithm —   [engl.], Algorithmus.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • algorithm — (n.) 1690s, from Fr. algorithme, refashioned (under mistaken connection with Gk. arithmos number ) from O.Fr. algorisme the Arabic numeral system (13c.), from M.L. algorismus, a mangled transliteration of Arabic al Khwarizmi native of Khwarazm,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • algorithm — ► NOUN ▪ a process or set of rules used in calculations or other problem solving operations. DERIVATIVES algorithmic adjective. ORIGIN Latin algorismus, from an Arabic word meaning the man of Kw rizm , referring to a 9th century mathematician …   English terms dictionary

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  • algorithm — algorithmic, adj. /al geuh ridh euhm/, n. a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor. [1890 95; var. of ALGORISM, by assoc. with Gk arithmós number. See ARITHMETIC] * * * Procedure …   Universalium

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  • algorithm — noun /ˈælɡəɹɪðm/ A precise step by step plan for a computational procedure that begins with an input value and yields an output value in a finite number of steps. Informally, an algorithm is any well defined computational procedure that takes… …   Wiktionary


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