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Big Idea 3: Algorithms and Programming

Developing Algorithms

1 min read•november 16, 2020

minnachow

Minna Chow


AP Computer Science Principles ⌨️

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We've just looked at two different ways to write the same loop in Python. This brings up an important point: different algorithms can be used to achieve the same goals. This is because algorithms are, at their heart, steps to solve a problem, and there are many different ways to solve the same problem.
Often times, you'll see different algorithms used to solve the same problem, depending on the needs of the programmers and the program.
With all this variability, it's no wonder that new algorithms are constantly being developed.
New algorithms can be created from scratch or by combining and modifying algorithms that already exist. These existing algorithms could be ones you've written yourself or ones others have already created.

Examples of Existing Algorithm Types:

  • Determining the max. or min. value in a group of two or more numbers
  • Solving math problems: calculating sums, averages, etc.
  • Determining a robot's path through a maze (route-finding algorithm)
  • Compressing data (see Big Idea 2)
  • Sorting a list
Using existing algorithms can help reduce development and testing times because you're working with something that you can rely on. It also helps you simplify your debugging process because you know your problem can't come from within the algorithm.
If you use someone else's work, make sure to cite it properly, as mentioned in Big Ideas 1 and 5!

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🕹Big Idea 1: Creative Development
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