Ancient word of the day: Algorithm

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The ancient Muslim empire in the city of Baghdad was the birthplace of the word (and the concept of the) algorithm. In the year 820 AD, a Persian genius named Muhammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi created the concept of the algorithm and algebra in an ancient book called Kitab al-Jebr.

The book Kitab al-Jebr (later latinised to be algebra) arose out of practical needs at the time for people to calculate taxes, divide up land for irrigation or food and calculate goods for distribution and trade.  Musa al-Khwarizmi is also credited with inventing different kinds of quadratic equations. His ideas were hand-transcribed and copied by monks and abbots throughout the ages and in ancient cities, gradually spreading throughout the world.

Nowadays algorithms form the basis of all computers and they are used in every kind of calculation, data processing task, automated reasoning and AI. They underpin just about every function of modern life. Amazing that they were invented in dusty ancient city in amongst olive and pomegranate groves by a lone genius who dared to dream.

A Persian genius named Muhammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi created the concept of the algorithm and algrebra in the year 820 AD

Sources: The Map of Knowledge by Violet Moller

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2 thoughts on “Ancient word of the day: Algorithm

  1. I’ve not seen that image of the numerals and the numbers of angles before – that’s mad!

    1. Content Catnip – Catnip, The World. – Digital dawdler, foodie, bookworm, culture vulture, rainbow lorikeet perennially in love with the arts, history and science. Constantly seeking inspiring people, knowledge and places.
      Content Catnip says:

      Yeah I know it’s incredible, I had no idea either that this is what they meant, it is mind-blowing eh!

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