In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is a finite sequence of well-defined, computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of specific problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are always unambiguous and are used as specifications for performing calculations, data processing, automated reasoning, and other tasks. In contrast, a heuristic is a technique used in problem solving that uses practical methods and/or various estimates in order to produce solutions that may not be optimal but are sufficient given the circumstances. As an effective method, an algorithm can be expressed within a finite amount of space and time, and in a well-defined formal language for calculating a function.
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