An algorithm is a procedural set of instructions composed of mathematical and logical expressions used to solve a problem or perform a particular task in manufacturing.

Thanks to technology, manufacturing processes have been reinvented time and time again. From structured assembly lines that enabled mass production to machine learning decision support systems, manufacturers have evolved significantly.

Computers do not perform tasks independently, they must be instructed on how and when to perform. This is where algorithms and programs come into play. Algorithms define the set of steps towards accomplishing a task, while programs make these instruction sets compatible for computer processing. The nature of the problem will determine what type of algorithm is used. A few examples of an algorithm are numeric algorithms, algebraic algorithms, and geometric algorithms. In the computer realm, algorithms are used for data management and analysis.

Generally there is more than one way to write an algorithm to process a desired result. This could mean different approaches in the algorithm. Regardless of the mathematical calculation or the logic involved, there are generally few aspects that define a good algorithm, which include:

Algorithms will define the workflow and dependencies in a program. It has to be simplified to make the final program efficient.

The variables and data types assigned to input and output values need to be defined clearly. Short but descriptive variable names can help in debugging or upgrades in the future.

Each step in the algorithm must be clear and free from any ambiguity. Using a simplified workflow along with proper naming conventions and relevant documentation will help coders while programming.

There are a number of ways to solve a problem, picking the most efficient way is ideal. Optimal solutions minimize the chance of error, reduce overall cost of production and quicken development for an efficient time-to-market.

Industry 4.0 is driven by disruptive forces like the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Algorithms play a defining role in creating ML models to improve the efficiency of various activities. For instance, algorithms will empower computer systems to instruct machines in ways to improve precision and eliminate waste. This in turn will empower the floor personnel to optimize the manufacturing process and ensure better returns.

Every element of today’s technology is based on programmed behavior. The fundamental blueprint of a program is always an algorithm. A computer program that is enabled to perform addition and the program enabling transmission of data using IoT are similar in that they both started off as algorithms.