A randomized algorithm is an algorithm which employs a degree of randomness as part of its logic. The algorithm typically uses Uniform distribution (discrete)|uniformly random bits as an auxiliary input to guide its behavior, in the hope of achieving good performance in the average case over all possible choices of random bits. Formally, the algorithm's performance will be a random variable determined by the random bits; thus either the running time, or the output (or both) are random variables.
One has to distinguish between algorithms that use the random input to reduce the expected running time or memory usage, but always terminate with a correct result in a bounded amount of time, and probabilistic algorithms, which, depending on the random input, have a chance of producing an incorrect result (Monte Carlo algorithms) or fail to produce a result (Las Vegas algorithms) either by signalling a failure or failing to terminate.
In the second case, random performance and random output, the term algorithm for a procedure is somewhat questionable. In the case of random output, it is no longer formally Effective method|effective.
However, in some cases, probabilistic algorithms are the only practical means of solving a problem.
In common practice, randomized algorithms are approximated using a pseudorandom number generator in place of a true source of random bits; such an implementation may deviate from the expected theoretical behavior.
A randomized algorithm is an algorithm which employs a degree of randomness as part of its logic. The algorithm typically uses Uniform distribution (discrete)|uniformly random bits as an auxiliary input to guide its behavior, in the hope of achieving good performance in the average case over all possible choices of random bits. Formally, the algorithm's performance will be a random variable determined by the random bits; thus either the running time, or the output (or both) are random variables.
One has to distinguish between algorithms that use the random input to reduce the expected running time or memory usage, but always terminate with a correct result in a bounded amount of time, and probabilistic algorithms, which, depending on the random input, have a chance of producing an incorrect result (Monte Carlo algorithms) or fail to produce a result (Las Vegas algorithms) either by signalling a failure or failing to terminate.
In the second case, random performance and random output,...