Algorithm – Short Explanation

An algorithm simply put is a series of instructions. These instructions provide clear, step-by-step guidance on the performance of a specific task, and most importantly, they have a beginning, middle, and end.
An excellent example of an algorithm is a recipe. In a recipe, you are provided with a list of ingredients (inputs) and specific information on how these ingredients need to be combined to get your meal (output).

Understanding Algorithms in the Real World

Algorithms are often discussed in the world of math, computers, and computer science. However, as mentioned in the earlier example above, an algorithm does not have to be complicated and can be something straightforward.

Algorithms and Computers

If you consider that an algorithm is a simple series of instructions, understand that with computers, they are just as simple and straightforward. With computers, algorithms are simply instructions telling the computer what to do.
In this realm, algorithms can be reduced to a sequence of operations made up of AND, OR, and NOT. These three different operators can be combined in a variety of different means to resolve some complex questions, but at their heart, they are each quite easy to understand.

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How Algorithms work in the world of AI

When talking about algorithms, individuals and companies like to couch it in a complex and mysterious fashion, making it appear more complicated than it really is. Computers work straightforwardly. Computer programmers write a program that works through a sequence of actions in a step-by-step manner. Think about it like a simple decision tree with each decision being a choice, and based on that choice, the system proceeds to the next step.

Machine Learning and Algorithms

With Machine Learning (ML), you have a set of different algorithms that feed into each other so that a specific task can be completed without human intervention. In this case, you’re looking for structured data with particular variables, so the system understands what it needs to do.

Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms

Algorithms in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are somewhat different, however. Instead of each step being programmed, the AI is composed of a set of algorithms that can deal with situations that were not programmed or accounted for. AI systems can deal with unstructured data as well as structured data.