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  1. An algorithm is a systematic method for solving a problem.

  2. An algorithm can also mean a finite set of well-defined rules for the solution of a problem in a finite number of steps.
The word comes from the name of the Persian mathematician, al-Khowarizmi, and may have been first used by Gottfried Leibniz in the late 1600s. It remained little known in Western mathematics, however, until the Russian mathematician Andrei Markov (1903–1987) reintroduced it. The term became especially popular in the areas of math focused on computing and computation. Specifically in computer programming, an algorithm is a set of instructions in a computer-readable format which incorporates an established series of steps to obtain the solution to a problem.

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