What Are Computer Algorithms? – How to Learn Algorithms On Your OwnOn June 30, 2022 by Micarah
Computers are simple machines that have become complex because they needed to. They are powerful nowadays but still run on the same basic principles of reading ones and zeroes and executing commands.
Computers use algorithms to make the magic happen. Algorithms sound like magic to everybody except those that studied computer science or mathematics or have been invested in the theoretical side of programming.
Computer algorithms are an important part of programming, so let us take a deeper dive into what they mean and whether we could learn them alone.
What is an Algorithm?
Algorithms are used both in mathematics and computer science and represent a series of instructions that are used to solve specific problems or computations. Algorithms are taught at the start of any programming course, particularly if the course wants the student to understand what is going on when they are programming.
An algorithm consists of three parts, an input, computation and output. The input is whatever you input into the algorithm, from a number to text. The computation is a series of instructions that are supposed to do something with the input and create the output, the results of the algorithm. In the case of a calculator, the numbers are the input and the various operations are the instructions and computation, whilst the output would also be numbers, most of the time.
Can You Learn Algorithms On Your Own?
Well, yes, absolutely. There have been tons of books on computer programming, all of which start by teaching you what an algorithm is. Whenever you want to solve a certain problem in computing and programming, you need an algorithm.
While you might not be thinking of an algorithm as the way it is always graphically described, you will be using the same principle every time you solve a problem. With the right literature, it is possible to copy and learn other people’s algorithms, but the point would be to understand them enough so that you can make your own and solve problems on your own.
How to Approach Algorithms
Algorithms are best approached as puzzle pieces that you need to place in a certain order. The problem you need to solve usually has parts which you can visualize or separate. When you do that, then you can see if the parts can further be separated. By that time, it should be possible to focus on simple tasks and start working on designing an algorithm.
A huge circuit schematic might seem impossible to decipher, but if you recognize separate parts of the schematic, you can approach it piece by piece.
Algorithms are an essential part of computing that programmers rely on whenever they want to solve any problem. They are hard to master but become easier with each algorithm you design.
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