# Re: Algorithms

From: Watkins Jonathan (jjw295@soton.ac.uk)
Date: Wed May 22 1996 - 12:58:07 BST

What Is An Algorithm?

An algorithm is a set of mechanical instuctions which, when carried out
exactly, will give the desired result. An algorithm is merely a set of
rules which when follwed will give the desired goal. The instuctions
given in the algorithm don't have to be understood. The symbols used
can be totally arbitary. An algorithm can be given to anyone and
anything and as long as the algorithm is followed exactly the desired
result will be achieved. A equasion used to calculate odds for race
horses could be given given in an algorithm. As long as you followed
the algorithm exactly for each horse you would have comparable odds.
This example could be done by humans or machines. Indeed because
algorithms are mechanical and therefore mindless anything that can
follow the instructions can use algorithms. Algorithms are important
in the study of explaining the mind because they can be used to explain
the mind. It could be argued that the mind uses algorithms to work.
This would work as an explanation as we would no longer have to use the
homunculus to explain the mind. We can instead argue that the mind in
functioning follows a complex set of algorithms.

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