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With all the focus on new tech, I was wondering what the oldest tool or algorithm still in general usage is. The oldest that I've seen so far is the diff algorithm, from 1986, based on a paper by Eugene Myers. I'm not thinking of things like COBOL or C, which have changed to reflect the times, but those that have remained essentially unchanged since they were introduced.

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    IDK what's the oldest, but the Euclid's Algorithm that we use today dates back to 1844. (The original Euclid's algorithm was first published in 300BC.) I wouldn't be surprised to hear of others whose modern form is even older. Commented 2 days ago
  • 9
    This question doesn't make sense. Is a half-adder an algorithm? A counter? A stack? Is Pythagoras' Theorem an algorithm? Gaussian Elimination is surely an algorithm.
    – knol
    Commented 2 days ago
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    P.S., Voting to close as "opinion based." Technically speaking, you are asking for a fact—what's the oldest? But, you're inviting debate about what counts as an "algorithm," what counts as "still in general usage," whether or not the present form really is or is not equivalent to the version published on such-and-such date," etc. Commented 2 days ago
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    I would say counting is the oldest still in use - can't think of many programs that don't count at some point :)) On a side note, when asking fundamental questions, one would need to make very clear what base definitions are, right? Merriam Webster say an algorithm is "broadly : a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end". One-plus-one-plus-one is a problem that existed and has been solved in prehistoric times - like for counting sheep in the morning to check for losses - and still relevant - like counting search results :)))
    – Raffzahn
    Commented 2 days ago
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    This question doesn't seem to know that an 'algorithm' does not require a computer. It doesn't even have to be a mathematical or logical operation.
    – dave
    Commented 2 days ago

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