Algorithms, which are logical structures with detailed instructions, are the foundation of digital technology. Search engines, tournament scheduling, DNA sequencing, and machine learning are just a few examples of application domains. In this volume of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Panos Louridas argues that every educated person today must understand algorithms and what they perform and provides a reader-friendly introduction to them. In addition to defining algorithms, Louridas also illustrates how they operate, using a variety of examples and little to no math.
Graphs, which describe networks from eighteenth-century problems to modern social networks, searching, and how to find the fastest way to search, as well as sorting, and the significance of selecting the best algorithm for particular tasks, are three of the most fundamental application areas covered by Louridas after discussing what an algorithm does and how its effectiveness can be measured. Then he goes through larger-scale applications, including neural networks, deep learning, and PageRank, the original algorithm used by Google. Finally, Louridas explains how all algorithms are nothing more than simple hand movements on paper and how all of their amazing accomplishments stem from such a modest beginning.