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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

7 Essential Algorithms that Run the World | Innovation - Interesting Engineering

This is the second article in a seven-part series on Algorithms and Computation, which explores how we use simple binary numbers to power our world. The first article, How Algorithms Run the World We Live In, can be found here.

Algorithms have been around for thousands of years, but these 7 modern algorithms are essential to how our world works today, inform John Loeffler, writer and programmer living in New York City.

Photo: DepositPhotos

The oldest algorithms ever recorded were on ancient Babylonian tablets dating to about 1,800 BCE, explaining the specific procedures to compute different values like square roots and other measures. We still use one of the Greek mathematician Euclid’s most famous algorithms—his method for finding the greatest common divisor, first formulated around 300 BCE—in programming today because of its elegant simplicity.  

It wasn’t until the age of computers however that algorithms really began to take a mathematical approach to seemingly non-mathematical problems, and these modern algorithms are some of the most important solutions to problems currently powering the world’s most widely used systems.

Having discussed PageRank briefly in the first article in this series, Google’s PageRank algorithm is a great place to start, since it helped turn Google into the internet giant it is today...

The issue of efficiency doesn't just relate to the hardware however. The efficiency of the various algorithms can make or break a system. Fortunately, we know how to measure the efficiency of algorithms with mathematical precision, allowing us to find the right algorithm for the right problem.

Come back tomorrow for the third article in our series on Algorithms and Computations, Time Complexity: Why Some Algorithms Run for Billions of Years.

Source: Interesting Engineering