A finite sequence of steps required to get the desired output is called an algorithm. Algorithm has a definite beginning and a definite end , and consists of a finite number of steps .
 Algorithm is required by a programmer to clearly visualize the instructions it requires to code in order to develop a software.
 These also help him to identify the proper inputs and correct outputs.

The purpose of using an algorithm is to
increase the reliability, accuracy and efficiency of obtaining solutions.
Example: Algorithm to find largest of two numbers
Characteristics of a good algorithm
 Precision — the steps are precisely stated or defined.
 Uniqueness — results of each step are uniquely defined and only depend on the input and the result of the preceding steps.
 Finiteness — the algorithm always stops after a finite number of steps.
 Input — the algorithm receives some input.
 Output — the algorithm produces some output.
While writing an algorithm, it is required to clearly identify the following:
 The input to be taken from the user
 Processing or computation to be performed to get the desired result
 The output desired by the user