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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

What Is an Algorithm?: Traditional vs. Intelligent Algorithms

What Is an Algorithm?: Traditional vs. Intelligent Algorithms
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Author(s): Julia de Miguel (The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)and J. Ángel Velázquez-Iturbide (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain)
Copyright: 2025
Pages: 17
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Sixth Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Founding Editor-in-Chief, Information Resources Management Journal (IRMJ), USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7366-5.ch072


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Algorithms have emerged in past years as an object of public interest and debate. However, this term is used to name very different conceptions. The chapter presents the different definitions of the term “algorithm,” especially the traditional conception of algorithms as used in informatics and the novel conception of (intelligent) algorithms that have emerged in the last years. The main contribution of the chapter is the characterization of both types of algorithms in terms of the problems they are intended to solve. Furthermore, the chapter contributes by analyzing other uses of the word “algorithm” where it is an inadequate term. Finally, the chapter discusses misconceptions on algorithms present in other disciplines, which is an obstacle to mutual understanding and a source of mismatch between the disciplines.

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