A detailed sequence of actions to perform to accomplish some task. Named after an Iranian mathematician, Al-Khawarizmi. Technically, an algorithm must reach a result after a {finite} number of steps, thus ruling out {brute force} search methods for certain problems, though some might claim that brute force search was also a valid (generic) algorithm. The term is also used loosely for any sequence of actions (which may or may not terminate). {Paul E. Black's Dictionary of Algorithms, Data Structures, and Problems (http://xlinux.nist.gov/dads//)}. (2002-02-05)