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Algorithms -- Intro


Prologue: about history and complexity


Books and algorithms

The key development of human history is typography, or algorithms?

The term, algorithm, is used to honor the man who set up the decimal arithmetic system, which revolutionize the way people think about problems.

An exponential algorithm -- Fibonacci's sequence

function fib(n){
    if(n=0) return 0;
    if(n=1) return 1;
    return fib(n-1)+fib(n-2);

Consider about the time it used, like that:

$T(n)=T(n-1)+T(n-2)+3 for n>1$

Which is no doubt exponential like the Fibonacci sequence itself.

Optimization of the code above

We can see that during the recursive process, a lot of steps have been repeated. But if we use some space to save time, we will get a polynomial solution:

function fib2(n){
if(n=0) return 0;
int f[0...n];
f[0]=0; f[1]=1;
for i = 2..n:
return f[n];


Due to the possible theoretical difficulties, we need to seek an uncluttered, machine-independent chracterization of an algorithm's efficiency. So we consider the basic steps taken with n input size.

We express the simplification like $5n^3+4n+3=O(n^3)$ .

There is a order of domination: exponential > polymial > logarithm