By Olivia Giles at November 10 2018 13:40:40

In mathematics, method of solving a problem by repeatedly using a simpler computational method. A basic example is the process of long division in arithmetic. The term algorithm is now applied to many kinds of problem solving that employ a mechanical sequence of steps, as in setting up a computer program. The sequence may be displayed in the form of a flowchart in order to make it easier to follow. As with algorithms used in arithmetic, algorithms for computers can range from simple to highly complex.

Flowcharts can be very useful for a technical writer. If you're working on a complex process, a flowchart can show you the various steps involved in that process. For example, you could be working on a manual on how to troubleshoot the Autopilot Flight Director system for the Boeing 747 aircraft. There are various steps involved in troubleshooting this system. Each step has multiple sub-steps. By creating a flowchart, you can quickly see which step takes place at what stage in the process.

In all cases, however, the task that the algorithm is to accomplish must be definable. That is, the definition may involve mathematical or logic terms or a compilation of data or written instructions, but the task itself must be one that can be stated in some way. In terms of ordinary computer usage, this means that algorithms must be programmable, even if the tasks themselves turn out to have no solution. In computational devices with a built-in microcomputer logic, this logic is a form of algorithm. As computers increase in complexity, more and more software-program algorithms are taking the form of what is called hard software.

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