10 Algorithms that Have Changed the World

Seattle Web Design
8 min readJun 30, 2023

Algorithms are detailed instructions or processes to complete a task or solve a problem. They form the backbone of problem-solving methodologies and play a vital role in computer science and mathematics. By breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable subproblems, algorithms provide a systematic and methodical approach to finding solutions.

In today’s society, algorithms serve numerous purposes, ranging from problem-solving to enabling automation that simplifies complex tasks. Problem-solving algorithms offer a streamlined and structured method for resolving issues. They provide a logical reasoning framework and outline the steps to reach a solution. By ensuring that problems are addressed effectively and precisely, algorithms contribute to efficient and accurate outcomes.

One of the key advantages of algorithms lies in their ability to generate effective solutions, which can significantly reduce the time and resources required for problem-solving. Tasks involving data analysis, processing, optimization, and computation can all be efficiently and swiftly tackled by implementing algorithms. These algorithms streamline the decision-making process and enable faster, more reliable results.

Furthermore, algorithms profoundly impact various domains, including technology, business, healthcare, and finance. The power search engines, recommendation systems, financial models, medical diagnoses, and countless other applications rely on efficient problem-solving. Algorithms enhance our ability to tackle complex challenges and pave the way for innovation and advancement in various fields.

Algorithms will continue to impact our lives by revolutionizing industries greatly impacted by these algorithms. From scientific research to improving communication, algorithms will continue to impact these industries. They continue to drive innovation and impact industries heavily. Algorithms have shaped our world by offering new possibilities and enhancing aspects of our daily lives.

10 Algorithms:

There are many other ways algorithms are used for important tasks, but providing structured, efficient, and reproducible problem-solving methods is why they are so important in today’s society. Algorithms are the backbone of computer science, mathematics, and engineering. Many algorithms have significantly impacted our society, and here is a list of 10 algorithms that have changed the world.

There is no doubt that the most common algorithm known around the world is the page rank algorithm. Created by the co-founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The page rank algorithm played a crucial role in Google’s success. This algorithm is the backbone of many search engines today, from Google to Bing. These algorithms are the support system of search engines. The algorithm’s idea was to take the importance of a web page by determining the number of links pointing to the page. In short, it would sort the most relevant pages to the top and the least towards the bottom. This algorithm was ground-breaking when it was introduced, especially when the internet age was still new.

Although the page rank algorithm was revolutionary for its time, the RSA algorithm was also revolutionary. Originally founded in 1977 by 3 MIT colleagues, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman. This algorithm is an asymmetric cryptography that uses 2 different keys, private and public, the private key is for the client and the public key can be seen by the browser. Both these keys contain a message used to encrypt each other. This algorithm is used to provide confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity. This security system is usually used on sensitive data, digital signatures, etc.

Here is a more in-depth video on how page rank and RSA algorithms work:

The linear programming (LP) algorithm, developed by George B. Dantzig in 1947, is a powerful tool that employs mathematical optimization techniques to solve a wide range of complex problems. The LP algorithm is founded on mathematical optimization theory. The algorithm can identify optimal values and variables that satisfy all constraints while optimizing the objective by formulating a problem as a linear model with decision variables, constraints, and an objective function. Its primary objective is to find optimal solutions by maximizing or minimizing a linear function. In short, the LP algorithm searches for the most effective methods or strategies to achieve the best possible outcomes, making it an indispensable tool in various fields. The LP algorithm is used extensively in finance by hedge funds and supply chain management. In conclusion, the LP algorithm helps businesses find the most efficient allocation of resources to maximize profitability while minimizing production costs.

The Monte Carlo algorithm was developed in the 1940s by John von Neumann and Stanislaw Ulam. It is a powerful tool for improving decision-making when facing uncertainty. It is similar to the linear programming algorithm; the Monte Carlo algorithm is programmed to find favorable outcomes by solving problems. It utilizes risk analysis methods to enable the analysis of complex systems and tackle problems that are challenging to solve analytically. The fundamental principle behind the Monte Carlo algorithm is the generation of random samples or simulations to approximate and evaluate the behavior of a system or problem. It runs numerous trials and all possible scenarios while collecting statistical data to estimate probabilities and outcomes. This algorithm has been widely applied across various disciplines, including physics, finance, engineering, computer science, and optimization. It allows researchers to gain insights into systems that traditional mathematical methods cannot precisely describe.

The genetic algorithm is a powerful optimization technique inspired by Charles Darwin’s Theory of natural evolution. John Holland created this algorithm in the 1960s and 1970s. It is a good way to solve optimization problems by mimicking the principles of natural selection. The algorithm provides a framework for searching and identifying optimal solutions in constrained and unconstrained optimization scenarios. The genetic algorithm mimics the process of biological evolution, applying concepts such as reproduction, mutation, and selection to generate increasingly better solutions over successive generations. With its ability to handle large solution spaces and multiple constraints and incorporate domain-specific knowledge, the genetic algorithm has become a valuable tool in various fields and has revolutionized the optimization field, enabling the automation of complex computing tasks. As computational resources continue to advance, the genetic algorithm is poised to play an increasingly significant role in automating complex computing tasks and finding optimal solutions in diverse domains.

The Fast Fourier Transform algorithm (FFT) is an essential and widely used method for acoustic measurement developed by Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1965. The FFT algorithm enables the conversion of signals into their spectral components. The FFT algorithm simplifies computation and analysis by extracting frequency information from the signal. Without this algorithm, directly computing these spectral components would be significantly more time-consuming. The applications of the FFT algorithm are diverse and extend to various fields, such as audio and speech processing, radar systems, communication technologies, radios, and sensor data analysis. Radar systems heavily rely on the FFT algorithm for detecting and analyzing signals reflected from objects. The FFT algorithm will identify targets and estimate their range, velocity, and other things by transforming the received radar signals into the frequency domain. This information is vital for civilian air traffic control, weather monitoring, and military surveillance.

Here’s a visual presentation for the FFT algorithm

The support Vector algorithm contains properties similar to the fast Fourier transform algorithm as it encrypts applications. However, these applications are visual and not signal processes. Support Vector Algorithms is a deep learning algorithm that learns to perform for classification or regressions of data groups. It is often used for face detection, email classification, gene classification, and web pages. Classification and web pages. This amazing algorithm was originally developed by Vladamir N. Vapnik and Alexey Ya Chervonenkis in 1963.

The support vector algorithm is a supervised machine learning algorithm, the objective of this algorithm is to identify the best decision boundary that helps classify data points into 2 classes. The points are found in an N-dimensional space, and the boundary line is named the hyperplane. The support vectors, which are the data points, are what SVM looks for to make the hyperplane. The support vector algorithm is often confused with logistic regression, a supervised classification algorithm. The difference is logistic regression is a probabilistic approach which means performing tasks under uncertainty where the support vector is on the contrary and instead relies on statistical approaches. SVM usually operates best when the dataset is small and complex.

SVM (analyticsvidhya.com)

Backpropagation is the foundation for machine learning, such as the Support vector algorithm, where it learns to perform classification processes. However, Backpropagation is different as it is designed to test for errors working back from output nodes to input nodes. As AI continues to become more powerful, the more useful this algorithm will become in the future.

The backpropagation algorithm is used in applications of neural networks in data mining, for instance, signature verification or character recognition. The neural network is one of three types of AI apps. It was first introduced in the 1960s by Seppo Linnainmaa, and 30 years later, in 1989, it was popularized by Rumelhart, Hinton, and Williams in a paper named “Learning representations by back-propagating errors”. Backpropagation improves the accuracy of predictions in machine learning and data mining. Ultimately, the backpropagation algorithm trains neural networks to calculate derivatives quickly by taking the error rate of forward propagation and repeatedly updating backward to tune weights and decrease error rates. Backpropagation can make a model reliable by increasing its generalization.

Network weights are updated as follows:

weight = weight — learning_rate * error * input

Below is a function that implements the training of an already initialized neural network with assets:

# Train a network for a fixed number of epochs
def train_network(network, train, l_rate, n_epoch, n_outputs):
for epoch in range(n_epoch):
sum_error = 0
for row in train:
outputs = forward_propagate(network, row)
expected = [0 for i in range(n_outputs)]
expected[row[-1]] = 1
sum_error += sum([(expected[i]-outputs[i])**2 for i in range(len(expected))])
backward_propagate_error(network, expected)
update_weights(network, row, l_rate)
print('>epoch=%d, lrate=%.3f, error=%.3f' % (epoch, l_rate, sum_error))

How to Code a Neural Network with Backpropagation In Python (from scratch) — MachineLearningMastery.com

Other useful algorithms that have changed the world are the k-means and Apriori algorithms. The k-means algorithm was developed by Stuart Lloyd in 1957, and the a priori algorithm was developed by R. Agrawal and R. Srikant. These algorithms are similar; however, the k-means algorithm is a cluster referring to a collection of collected data points. These data points are then aggregated due to certain data similarities. While the Apriori algorithm collects and organizes data just like the k-means algorithm, it organizes data by how frequently the items go together. It is the foundation of basket analysis, which aims to find combinations of predictions often brought together.

Takeaway

Algorithms have emerged as the most effective approach to problem-solving. Algorithms have wide applications in various domains, such as data storage, sorting, processing, and machine learning. They are the backbone of numerous industries by simplifying complex problems and solutions, reducing errors, and enhancing our understanding of intricate systems. Machine learning algorithms have also transformed various industries, powering applications such as recommendation systems, fraud detection, natural language processing, and autonomous vehicles. By using algorithms, businesses, and organizations can achieve greater efficiency and accuracy, reduce manpower input, unlock new possibilities, and drive innovation.

In the future, revolutionary algorithms like AI will profoundly impact our world asalgorithms become more integrated into our daily lives, and shape many aspects of our daily routines. They will continue to become more advanced in the future. While they continue to evolve and permeate every aspect of our lives, we must understand their limitations and acknowledge that they can also negatively impact our lives. By being conscious of these risks, algorithms will continue to impact our lives and change the world.

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