# Friday math movie: How algorithms shape our world

By Murray Bourne, 12 Aug 2011

Where does math fit in the world? Sadly, for many students, math is something to be endured until the exam, and then promptly forgotten.

Kevin Slavin, designer of numbers game *Drop 7* and Facebook’s *Parking Wars*, describes how math is helping to not only describe the world, but to shape it as well.

This is important stuff for understanding why our futures are actually very precarious. As Slavin says:

From the Google algorithms to the algos that give you “recommendations” online to those that automatically play the stock markets (and sometimes crash them): we may not realize it, but we live in the algoworld.

An algorithm, by the way, is (according to this Wikipedia entry):

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning. In simple words an algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for calculations.

On with the video.

See the 1 Comment below.

9 Jul 2012 at 5:08 am [Comment permalink]

Cool article and video. I think it is important to understand what algorithms are and how they can be used for our benefit, especially for math and computer science majors.