What kinds of problems are solved by algorithms?

  •  The Human Genome Project has made great progress toward the goals of identifying all the 100,000 genes in human DNA, determining the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA, storing this information in databases, and developing tools for data analysis. Each of these stepsrequires sophisticated algorithms. Although the solutions to the various prob-lems involved are beyond the scope, ma. The savings are in time, both human and machine, and in money, as more information can be extracted from laboratory techniques.
  •  The Internet enables people all around the world to quickly access and retrieve large amounts of information. With the aid of clever algorithms, sites on the Internet are able to manage and manipulate this large volume of data. Examples of problems that make essential use of algorithms include finding good routes on which the data will travel (techniques for solving such problems appear in and using a search engine to quickly find pages on which particular information resides.
  • Electronic commerce enables goods and services to be negotiated and ex- changed electronically, and it depends on the privacy of personal information such as credit card numbers, passwords, and bank statements. The core technologies used in electronic commerce include public-key cryptography and digital signatures, which are based on numerical algorithms and number theory.
  • Manufacturing and other commercial enterprises often need to allocate scarce resources in the most beneficial way. An oil company may wish to know where to place its wells in order to maximize its expected profit. A political candidate may want to determine where to spend money buying campaign advertising in order to maximize the chances of winning an election. An airline may wish to assign crews to flights in the least expensive way possible, making sure that each flight is covered and that government regulations regarding crew scheduling are met. An Internet service provider may wish to determine where to place additional resources in order to serve its customers more effectively.

 

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