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An algorithm is a finite set of precise instructions for performing a computation or solving a problem. Programmers usually write an algorithm in pseudocode before actually coding it. (image 1) Properties of an algorithm: * input: input values from a specified set * output: from the input values, the algorithm produces output values from a specified set; they are the solution * correctness: an algorithm should produce correct output values for each set of input values * finiteness: there should be a finite number of steps for any input that produce the output * effectiveness: it should be possible to perform each step of the algorithm correctly and in a finite amount of time * generality: the algorithm should work for all problems of the desired form example of psuedo code (image 2)