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4.2 Algorithms

Any computing problem can be solved by executing a series of actions in a specific order. A procedure for solving a problem, in terms of

  1. the actions to be executed and
  2. the order in which these actions are to be executed

is called an algorithm. The following example demonstrates the importance of getting the order right.

Consider the "rise-and-shine algorithm" followed by one junior executive for getting out of bed and going to work: (1) get out of bed, (2) take off pajamas, (3) take a shower, (4) get dressed, (5) eat breakfast and (6) carpool to work. This routine prepares the executive for a productive day at the office.

However, suppose that the same steps are performed in a slightly different order: (1) get out of bed, (2) take off pajamas, (3) get dressed, (4) take a shower, (5) eat breakfast, (6) carpool to work. In this case, our junior executive shows up for work soaking wet.

Specifying the order in which statements (actions) execute in a program is called program control. This chapter investigates program control using control statements.

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