**Unformatted text preview: **6 Chapter 1 The Role of Algorithms in Computing have been developed. Which algorithm is best for a given application depends on—among other factors—the number of items to be sorted, the extent to which the items are already somewhat sorted, possible restrictions on the item values, and the kind of storage device to be used: main memory, disks, or tapes. An algorithm is said to be correct if, for every input instance, it halts with the correct output. We say that a correct algorithm solves the given computational problem. An incorrect algorithm might not halt at all on some input instances, or it might halt with an answer other than the desired one. Contrary to what one might expect, incorrect algorithms can sometimes be useful, if their error rate can be controlled. We shall see an example of this in Chapter 31 when we study algorithms for finding large prime numbers. Ordinarily, however, we shall be concerned only with correct algorithms....

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