Blog of Andrés Aravena
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# 3. Algorithm v/s Heuristics

09 November 2022

An algorithm is a protocol to find the answer to a specific question. Sometimes they take a very long time to finish, so instead we ask a different (but similar) question that can be answered in a shorter time. This is an heuristic.

Notice that technically the heuristics are also algorithms, but for a different question. The trick is to get an answer that is probably correct, or close to the correct one.

## Student 1 99

Algorithm is the protocol that always delivers a correct answer to a problem, heuristic is the protocol that gives an approximately answer. We need to use heuristics because biology hasn’t always got a definite answers for questions, sometimes we need to admit the similarities to get an approximate result.

## Student 2 40

Algorithm is a direct system that runs what we want. It is not considers any biological similarities or differences. Just compares letters to letters, one by one. But heuristics gives us a result that what is the similarity of chemical or biological backgrounds of this letters in sequences.

## Student 3 40

Algorithm is related with maths but heuristic is related with nature. Algorithm gives us an exact result. But in heuristic we can find too many results that close to each other and related with each other. We can choose that we use for our researches. It’s because of we need to use heuristic is in nature and biology we can compare something, we can not find exact result.

Mathematics is related to nature. As Galileo said: “The laws of nature are written in the language of mathematics”. It is impossible to really understand nature without understanding math.

## Student 4 80

An Algorithm is a protocol that always delivers a correct answer to a specific problem in a finite number of steps

for example when we divide two numbers

This was first shown in Al-Khwarizmi’s book

An Heuristic is a protocol that solves a simplified problem or that gives an approximate answer with lower cost that the complete algorithm

For example instead of asking everybody, we can take a small random sample

Or computers playing chess

## Student 6 60

Heuristics shows us approximate answers. It can miss some cases. For example BLAST is a heuristic tool. Different paramethers shows us different answers. If the score is over a threshold its a hit.

We design specific algorithm for our target. So algorithm makes one result

## Student 7 100

An Algorithm is a protocol that always delivers a correct answer to a specific problem in a finite number of steps. Heuristic is a protocol that solves a simplified problem, or that gives an approximate answer with lower cost than the complete algorithm. We need heuristics because our biological questions are too hard. We need to understand answers to our similar questions. Heuristic gives the correct answer to a similar question and it gives an approximate answer.

## Student 8 50

Algorithm gives the all combination of given parameters. It calculate all possibilities. Heuristic means that approximate result. It uses indexes for exact match to search hits which score is over a threshold so by doing that it misses some points . It can be called randomly . That is why blast is heuristic. we get approximate result for our query. It could be mismatch, partial .

## Student 9 100

An algorithm is a protocol that always delivers a correct answer to a specific problem in a finite number of steps. A heuristic is a protocol that solves a simplified problem, or that gives an approximate answer at a lower cost than the complete algorithm. In life sciences, we usually deal with complicated problems that are hard to answer, and the most approximate answer is better than no answer at all. Thus, we use heuristics.

## Student 11 60

A heuristic is a process to a solution by trial and error. Rules are loosely followed. In the other hand, an algorithm is a set of rules to be followed strictly in operations by computers.

## Student 12 50

The algorithm is about getting a result for a question, like functions, if we put an entry we will get a result according to what the algorithm includes. A heuristic is what the algorithm uses to get a result, in other words, what is the underlying principle of the algorithm.

## Student 13 80

Algorithm gives us exact solution while heuristic gives us an approximate solution.

## Student 14 100

Heuristics means it gives the correct answer to a similar question, gives approximate answers.