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An information theoretic measure of algorithmic complexity Wright, Lois E.

Abstract

This work is a study of an information theoretic model which is used to develop a complexity measure of an algorithm. The measure is defined to reflect the computational cost and structure of the given algorithm. In this study computational costs are expressed as the execution times of the algorithm, where the algorithm is coded as a program in a machine independent language, and analysed in terms of its representation as a pseudograph. It is shown that this measure aids in deciding which sections of the algorithm should be optimized, segmented or expressed as subprograms. The model proposed is designed to yield a measure which reflects both the program flow and computational cost. Such a measure allows an 'optimal' algorithm to be selected from a set of algorithms, all of which solve the given problem. This selection is made with a more meaningful criterion for decision than simply execution cost. The measure can also be used to further analyse a given algorithm and point to where code optimization techniques should be applied. However it does not yield a method of generating equivalent algorithms.

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