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Definition: An effective procedure for solving a problem in a finite no of steps.

An algorithm is a finite set of well defined instructions or step by step procedure to solve a
given problem.
Programs= Algorithms + Data.
Characteristics of an Algorithm
1) Input : It may accept zero or more inputs
2) Definiteness : Each instruction must be clear, well-defined and precise. There should not
be any ambiguity
3) Effectiveness : Each instruction must be simple and be carried out in a finite amount of
4) Finiteness : Algorithm should have finite sequence of instructions. That is, it should end
after a fixed time. It should not enter into an infinite loop
5) Output :It should produce at least one output.
Algorithm Notation

Name of algorithm: Specifies problem to be solved.

Step no - Identification tag of an instruction and it is an unsigned position number.
Explanatory comment within the square brackets

Advantages of Algorithm
Effective communication: Since algorithm is written in English like language, logic of the
problem can be explained easily to others
Easy and efficient coding : It acts as a blue print during a program development
Program debugging : Helps in debugging so that we can identify the logical errors in a
Program maintenance : maintaining the software becomes much easier

Different patterns of algorithms

1) Sequential : In this different steps occur in a sequence
2) Conditional : In this different steps are executed based on a condition(whether
true/false) . In programming languages, an conditional pattern is
implemented using decision making statements.
3) Iterational : In this a task (one or more steps ) is repeated more than once. In
programming languages, an iterational pattern is implemented using
loops. An iterational construct is also known as repetitive construct
1. Write an algorithm to find sum and average of 3 numbers
Step 1: start
Step 2: read a,b,c [ input 3 numbers]
Step 3: sum a + b + c
[ find sum]
Step 4: avg sum/3
[find average]
Step 5: print sum, avg
[output the result]
Step 6: stop
2. Write an Algorithm to find whether an entered integer number is positive or negative
(Decision making type)
Step 1: Start
[Beginning of the Algorithm]
Step 2: Read a number A [Input the integer number]
Step 3: If A is greater than 0 [compare A to zero]
print number as positive
print number as negative
Step 4: Stop
[End of the Algorithm]

Write an algorithm to find largest of two numbers

Step 1: Start
[Beginning of the Algorithm]
Step 2: Read a and b [Input two numbers a,b]
Step 3: if a is greater than b [ compare a and b]
print a as large
print b as large
[output the result]
Step 4: Stop

Disadvantage of algorithm
Developing algorithm for large and complex problems would be time consuming and
difficult to understand
Understanding complex logic through algorithms would be difficult