1. Introduction to Algorithms

1. Introduction to Algorithms - ENGR 101 Fall 2010(Section...

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ENGR 101 Fall 2010 (Section 100) 1 ENGR 101 : Intro to Computers and Programming Prof. Michael Wellman What is ENGR 101? Engineering 101 introduces first-year students to the concept of an algorithm: a well-defined set of instructions that achieve a particular goal. Constructing an algorithm for a given purpose is a fundamental form of engineering design task, and developing computer programs is part of almost every modern engineering project. Students in ENGR 101 learn how to conceptualize algorithms for solving engineering problems and express them in the programming languages C++ and MATLAB. What Will You Get from this Course? You will learn what an algorithm is, …how to design algorithms …how to express them in programming languages C++ and MATLAB …how to think algorithmically …understand role of computation in engineering And we hope… You will have fun! Introduction to Algorithms ENGR 101, Lecture 1: 8 Sep 10

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ENGR 101 Fall 2010 (Section 100) 2 What is an Algorithm? A precise specification of a computational process . what computers do involves calculation operates over time result: solve a problem perform a task unambiguous can be executed mechanically structured set of instructions Textbook Definition (from Holloway, Intro to Engineering Programming ) Algorithm A list of instructions that, when executed, transform information from input to output . The instructions are a finite set of steps that can be executed, in a definite order, by a deterministic mechanism. When these steps are actually executed, the execution must terminate after a finite time. specifies computational process mechanically executable produces result “Algorithm” Etymology Muhammad ibn M ū s ā al-Khw ā rizm ī 9 th Century Persian mathematician Some Algorithms in Your Life Web search: (e.g., PageRank) Recommendations: (products, friends…) Mp3 encoding/decoding: Pathfinding
ENGR 101 Fall 2010 (Section 100) 3 More (Industrial Strength) Algorithms Air Traffic Control Magnetic Resonance Imaging Computer Numerical Control Supply Chain Management Question 1 – What does this Algorithm Do? 1. Request a value for a . 2. Request a value for b . 3. Request a value for c . 4. Calculate b 2 – 4 ac . 5. Return the value calculated in step 4. a) Nothing, it is not an algorithm b) It returns a solution to the quadratic equation a x 2 + b x + c = 0. c) It returns the discriminant of the quadratic equation a x 2 + b x + c = 0. Question 2 – Is it an algorithm? 1. Request a value for a 2. While a > 0 3. Assign a /2 to a [ a a /2 ] 4. Return a a) No, it is not an algorithm b) Yes, it returns a value of one-half the original a . c) Yes, it returns the smallest even divisor of a . The procedure will never terminate.

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