# Analysis of Algorithms: Worst Case Complexity

### Steven J. Zeil

Old Dominion University, Dept. of Computer
Science

Copyright © 1999-2005 Steven J. Zeil, Old Dominion University

Our primary tool in trying to predict the speed of an algorithm is
going to be an idea we call the “complexity” or more
specifically the “worst case complexity” of the
algorithm.

The English language word “complexity” may mean many
things, and two people might not necessarily agree which of two algorithms
are more complex in the generic sense. But in this lesson we are going to
explore a specific definition of complexity that will, as it turns out, be
directly related to the running speed of the algorithm.

I'll warn you right up front that the initial work we are going to do,
both giving this definition and showing how it applies, is going to be
little bit tedious. But as we go through the remainder of the lessons in
this section of the course, we will come up with faster and elegant ways to
apply this idea of complexity to actual coded algorithms.

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