Sunday, December 23, 2012

Origin of Algorithm word

If you never read about the origin of the word, "The Art of Computer Programming" by Donald Knuth explains it:
The word "algorithm" itself is quite interesting [...] The word did not appear in Webester's New World Dictionary as late as 1957; we find only the older form "algorism" with its ancient meaning, the process of doing arithmetic using Arabic numerals. [...] historians of mathematics found the true origin of the word algorism: It comes from the name of a famous Persian textbook author, Abu 'Abd Allah Muhmmad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (c. 825) - literally, "Father of Abdullah, Mohammed, son of Moses, native of Khwarizm." [...] Al-Khwarizmi wrote the celebrated book Kitab al-jabr wa'l-muqabala ("Rules of restoring and equating"); another word, "algebra", stems from the title of his book, which was a systematic study of the solution of linear and quadratic equations).

Not only you learn about the origin of algorithm as well as of algebra.

On you will find a 1981 article from Lecture Notes in Computer Science recommended by Knuth, but it's closed to members. I'd be curious to read it, but did not gain access through MS corporate subscription to Springer.
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