• A mathematical set of steps designed to solve a problem or run instructions in a program. For example, an algorithm in a case management program would perform the function, “Check the filing date of the complaint in this matter, determine the date to file an answer, determine if the answer has been sent out and, if not, send email to the attorney in charge of the case warning him of the impending date.”
  • A formally specified series of computations that, when executed, accomplishes a particular goal. The Algorithms used in E-Discovery are implemented as computer software.
  • A specific set of steps that when accurately executed leads to a specific outcome. Algorithms can be created for many different kinds of processes, including calculation, data processing, automated reasoning, and mathematical computations. Algorithms should be distinguished from heuristics. The word “algorithm” is often misused to refer to any computer-implemented process.


  1. Legal Electronic Document Institute, Basic Principles of Automated Litigation Support (2005).
  2. The Grossman-Cormack Glossary of Technology Assisted Review (Version 1.02, Nov. 2102).
  3. Herb Roitblat, Search 2020: The Glossary.