In mathematics, computing, linguistics and related disciplines, an algorithm is a sequence of instructions, 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.

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