Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What are the Origins of the Word Algorithm?

 A Quotation:
 The notion of an algorithm is basic to all of computer programming.

 The word algorithm in quite interesting. 
Finally, historians of mathematics found the true origin of the word algorism: it comes from the name of a famous Arabic text book author, Abu Jafar Mohammed ibn Musa al- Khowarizmi. Khowarizm is today the small Soviet (now in Uzbekistan) city of Khiva. Al- Khowarizmi wrote the celebrated book Kitab Aljabr wal- Muqabla (Rules of Restorations and Reduction); another word,  algebra stems from the title of this book, although the book was not very algebraic?

D.E.Knuth,  The Art of Computer Programming, Vol 1 : Fundamental Algorithms, Addison-Wesley, (1968)
Donald Knuth is a famous mathematician. Above multi-volume work is only one of his many significant contributions. His other contributions include the font creation Program METAFONT and professional scientific document preparation system called TeX that has been used in the present blog in the form of LaTeX and ArabTeX.

Image: Wikimedia Commens