The IT Law Wiki



An algorithm is

[a] sequence of instructions that performs a calculation or other problem-solving operation when applied to defined input data.[1]

Council of Europe[]

An algorithm is

[a] finite suite of formal rules/commands, usually in the form of a mathematical logic, that allows for a result to be obtained from input elements."[2]


See cryptographic algorithm.


An algorithm is

[a] specific approach, often described in mathematical terms, used by a computer to solve a certain problem or carry out a certain task.[3]


An algorithm refer to "methods of combining in a program, instructions given to a computer."[4]

United States[]

An algorithm is

  • "[a] prescribed set of well defined rules or processes for the solution of a problem."[5]
  • "a particular method devised to solve a particular problem (or class of problems)."[6]
  • "a step-by-step, problem-solving procedure, especially an established computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps."[7]
  • "[a] mathematical procedure used to solve problems with a series of steps. Algorithms are usually encoded as a sequence of computer commands."[8]
  • "basically a procedure or set of instructions designed to perform a specific task or solve a mathematical problem."[9]

An algorithm is

a well-defined computational procedure for taking an input and producing an output. Algorithms are tools for solving computational problems — an algorithm describes a specific computational procedure for achieving a desired input/output relationship.[10]

Algorithms are computer processes that set rules for the data social media platforms receive. They help operators sort and prioritize content and can be used to tailor what a user sees at a particular time.[11]


"Operators use algorithms to sort, index, curate, and prioritize user content, as well as to suppress illegal and other content the operator chooses to moderate. Social media operators can change or refine their algorithms to meet evolving business goals in response to internal incentives (e.g., maximizing engagement, increasing advertising revenue) and external pressures (e.g., user complaints, stakeholders), affecting what users see, what content is privileged and promoted, and what content rapidly spreads across the platform (i.e., 'goes viral'). Specifics about the algorithms that social media operators use are considered proprietary and are not publicly available, although there is a general understanding of how these algorithms work."[12]


See also[]