vendredi 29 novembre 2013

Prelude - Etymology of Algorithm

Algorithm? What is Algorithm? More precisely, What is the origin of the word itself?

Let's analyse the word, before we analyse what it vaguely refers to as a field.

Dissecting the word: Algo + Rithm ?

The prefix Algo-:
Listing a few words in the dictionary, I encountered the word "Algology", which means "the branch of botany that studies algae" wordweb. Wrong track for sure.

The suffix -Rithm:
Phonetically, it sounds like Rhythm ... Intuitively, we might subjectively be leaned to provide an explanation related to "something recurring at regular intervals" wordweb. Yes, Rithm and Rhythm are two distinct words that have nothing in common, except the partial homonymy.

Dr. Rashid Bin Muhammad, the Computer Science professor at the University of Kent, included in the page of his Design and Analysis of Algorithm course, the picture and the name of an ancient scientist (born in Baghdad) like the following:

Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khawarizmi

780 - 850

Al-Khawarizmi, indeed, is the founder of the field of Algorithms, and that's from where the word came.
Conclusion, "The word algorithm is derived from the Latinization of his name" source.

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