<- Virtual Exhibitions in Informatics



History of Algorithms

Nowadays every person uses the word “Algorithm” as a matter of course, but for the most the exact definition is a mystery. The intention of this site is to get into the secrets of this mystery and become acquainted with the culprits of this nomenclature. The focus is not on the state of the art implementation of specific algorithms but on interesting stories and the involved individuals.

Beside the history of the name we will point out the methodological aspects of algorithmic work and the different programming techniques. In our investigation we will try to summarize and to give an impression of the historical dimension of algorithms. The Babylonian-Sumer-Method of extracting a root, one of the first documented examples of mathematical algorithms, and names like “Euklid” or “al-Khwarizmi” will not be secrets any more.

Algorithms have a long history and the word can be traced back to the 9th century. At this time the Persian scientist, astronomer and mathematician Abdullah Muhammad bin Musa al-Khwarizmi, often cited as “The father of Algebra”, was indirect responsible for the creation of the term “Algorithm”. In the 12th century one of his books was translated into Latin, where his name was rendered in Latin as “Algorithmi”. But this was not the beginning of algorithms. Be curious about more…