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Algorithms Rule the World!

By Vladimir Estivill-Castro


Should we be afraid of computers being all around us? Well, it all depends on how intelligent they become. How intelligent, and what can they truly compute/calculate depends on the algorithms on them. Moreover, every time we develop new hardware and new computational tools, we change our perspective on the role humans have in the Universe. We constantly revise what we understand by “intelligent”, and in that regard, how we speculate about the thinking and computing that goes on in the human brain. The development of algorithms is central for all processes computers perform. If the algorithms are weak, insecure, or inefficient, the computers executing them will be useless even if they are technically very fast and/or large. What we have achieved with computers is faster instructions per second, or more storage capacity. Rather then reduce the need for better algorithms, this has increased the need for much better ones. Think of the recent digital camera revolution. With film cameras you were limited to rolls of 24 or 36, and you didn’t expect access to your prints. With a digital camera able to store hundreds of images, you would like better ways to select the ones that show you at the beach, without having to scan through them. Thus, algorithms rule the world! This lecture will explain what an algorithm is. It will provide an illustration of how the search for an algorithm has traversed history and the boundaries of many applications. It will also give a sense of what it is that algorithm designers do.School of Information and Communication TechnologyFaculty of Engineering and Information TechnologyFull Tex

Publisher: Griffith University
Year: 2005
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