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Accelerating the grapevine effect

Gossip is an efficient way to share information across large networks and has unexpected applications in solving other mathematical and machine-learning problems.

How big data can help you choose better health insurance

There are plenty of easy consumer choices. Paper clips: easy. Dish sponges: easy. Those products sit at one end of the spectrum. At the other end, impossibly distant, is health insurance.

Scientist develops novel algorithm to aid search for exoplanets

Inspired by movie streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu, a Southwest Research Institute scientist developed a technique to look for stars likely to host giant, Jupiter-sized planets outside of our solar system. She developed ...

A sound idea: A step towards quantum computing

A team at the University of Tsukuba studied a novel process for creating coherent lattice waves inside silicon crystals using ultrashort laser pulses. Using theoretical calculations combined with experimental results that ...

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Algorithm

In mathematics, computing, linguistics, and related subjects, an algorithm is a finite sequence of instructions, an explicit, step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, often used for calculation and data processing. It is formally a type of effective method in which a list of well-defined instructions for completing a task, will when given an initial state, proceed through a well-defined series of successive states, eventually terminating in an end-state. The transition from one state to the next is not necessarily deterministic; some algorithms, known as probabilistic algorithms, incorporate randomness.

A partial formalization of the concept began with attempts to solve the Entscheidungsproblem (the "decision problem") posed by David Hilbert in 1928. Subsequent formalizations were framed as attempts to define "effective calculability" (Kleene 1943:274) or "effective method" (Rosser 1939:225); those formalizations included the Gödel-Herbrand-Kleene recursive functions of 1930, 1934 and 1935, Alonzo Church's lambda calculus of 1936, Emil Post's "Formulation 1" of 1936, and Alan Turing's Turing machines of 1936–7 and 1939.

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