Properties of Algorithm

Donald Ervin Knuth has given a list of five properties for a algorithm, these properties are:

1) Finiteness: An algorithm must always terminate after a finite number of steps. It means after every step one reach closer to solution of the problem and after a finite number of steps algorithm reaches to an end point.

2) Definiteness: Each step of an algorithm must be precisely defined. It is done by well thought actions to be performed at each step of the algorithm. Also the actions are defined unambiguously for each activity in the algorithm.

3) Input: Any operation you perform need some beginning value/quantities associated with different activities in the operation. So the value/quantities are given to the algorithm before it begins.

4) Output: One always expects output/result (expected value/quantities) in terms of output from an algorithm. The result may be obtained at different stages of the algorithm. If some result is from the intermediate stage of the operation then it is known as intermediate result and result obtained at the end of algorithm is known as end result. The output is expected value/quantities always have a specified relation to the inputs.

5) Effectiveness: Algorithms to be developed/written using basic operations. Actually operations should be basic, so that even they can in principle be done exactly and in a finite amount of time by a person, by using paper and pencil only.