The Strange Roots

Algorithm ➗

Algorithm: The algorithm can be traced back to the Arabic al-Ḵwārizmī (via the French algorism and the Latin algorismus), the surname of the great 9th century Persian mathematician Muhammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.

Root: The name al-Ḵwārizmī means 'native of Khwarazm', a large oasis region that is split between modern-day Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Al-Khawrizmi invented decimal numbers and established the basis of modern algebraic theory with his book Kitab al-jabr wa’l-muqabalah (“The rules of restoration and reduction”).

It is al-jabr, the Arabic for ‘restoration’, in the title of al-Khwarizmi's book that gave us the word algebra. Before it was adopted in the mathematical sense, it meant ‘the reunion of broken parts’ and was used in the context of fixing broken bones.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary