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November 12, 2019

What are complex algorithms and why do we need them?

If you have ever read something about software development, you’ve surely come across the notion of algorithms. These refer to a set of rules that have to be followed in problem-solving operations and they are a basic concept for the workings of software and computers as we know them. However, even when algorithms are somewhat known for the general public, the idea of complex algorithms feels more obscure.

Just by the “complex” in its name you can see where this is headed—there’s a higher level of sophistication designed to serve more complicated tasks in advanced fields. Of course, there’s more to them than that. However, is it worth learning about them today, when Javascript software development and other simple languages seem to have simplified algorithms?

Let’s take a look at what complex algorithms are and if they are still valid options or if Javascript development services and the like can replace them altogether.

What are complex algorithms?

Though there isn’t a general agreement over what a complex algorithm actually is, there are people that have somewhat defined them by general notions. Thus, these algorithms combine advanced mathematical and logic methods to achieve their purposes. As a rule of thumb, some developers say that complex algorithms require at least one thousand lines of C/C++ code to be implemented.

The reason why this programming language is used to define such a concept is that it can be opposed to object-oriented methods (such as the ones used by Javascript development companies). Object-oriented techniques can’t be used while working on complex algorithms because developers would have to manually create a lot of things that other languages (such as Julia or Python - ScyPy) include by default.

That doesn’t mean that objects don’t get to be a part of complex algorithms. In fact, these algorithms are often packaged inside objects to be later integrated into applications in the easiest way possible. The objection still stands, though, as using appropriate programming languages could cut development times significantly. That’s a major benefit since the creation of complex algorithms can take several years, depending on their final purpose.

The development of complex algorithms can’t be understood as a part of traditional software development. That’s because of the scope and difficulties that are an inherent part of the projects in which these algorithms take part. Thus, its development is often seen as a specialized area that requires experts and professionals focused on this kind of work.

Why do we need complex algorithms?

In times when companies are trusting the simplicity of Javascript development outsourcing to work on its digital platforms, it’s reasonable to ask why would anyone want to develop complex algorithms. They seem bloated and require a lot of effort to be developed and maintained. Why would anyone invest in them?

Complex algorithms are widely used in commercial examples across a number of industries. One of the most popular uses of complex algorithms lies in the video compression field. These algorithms are the ones responsible for making videos more manageable without losing quality on platforms as varied as BluRay, DVDs, and even YouTube (News - Alert).

Complex algorithms are also used in the financial industry, especially in stock trading. There’s even a special term to describe this use: algorithmic trading. This implies the use of algorithms to execute predefined trading instructions accounting for variables like time, price, and volume and manage orders in the market over a specific period of time. Given the complexity of the stock market, this use is widely spread, as it limits human interaction and reduces the potential for errors.

Even more uses for complex algorithms can be found in encryption models, seismic models for oil and gas exploration, traffic models, patient care treatments and diagnosis, and even in the entertainment business (via recommendation systems like the one you can find on Netflix and Spotify (News - Alert)). Additionally, complex algorithms could be of value to design drugs to destroy cancer cells and tumors and even for the development of new energy sources, such as research into fusion power.

Investing in complex algorithms

All of the above should make it clear for you that complex algorithms are needed in today’s landscape. That’s true even in the light of how elaborate and costly their development can be. There might be exceptions, but experienced developers that are used in this kind of project say that finalizing a complex algorithm takes no less than 4 to 6 months and could add up to more than 5 years.

That might seem like a lot of time but it’s the standard for complex algorithms. There are 2 things that combine to push development times that far. First and foremost, the depth of the code and the interactions between all its functions takes some time to engineer properly. Secondly, the need to use new mathematical or logical methods may arise, which brings a new level of unpredictability to the project that has to be sorted out as development goes forward.

Both of those things conspire to make complex algorithms so inaccessible for common developers. Besides, a complex algorithm has to function as a perfect machine. If any part of the algorithm doesn’t work properly or has a small bug, the whole system breaks down and doesn’t fulfill its objective. This turns the work on each line of code into a challenge in and by itself.

With such a scenario, it’s hard to understand why would anyone invest in complex algorithms. However, given its current and potential applications, there are plenty of occasions when there is no alternative. That’s especially true for research teams and investigations into sophisticated topics that call for non-linear approaches and powerful logic to be cracked.

As you can now surely understand, complex algorithms are called that way for a reason. They need to be dealt with special care, they can get massive, and they can be sent to offshore Javascript teams to be handled quickly. They take time, effort, and money but they are a cornerstone of our modern digital life and they won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

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