polynomial time


Definition: When the execution time of a computation, m(n), is no more than a polynomial function of the problem size, n. More formally m(n) = O(nk) where k is a constant.

Specialization (... is a kind of me.)
sublinear time algorithm.

See also NP, exponential, logarithmic.

Note: Broadly speaking, polynomial time algorithms are reasonable to compute. The time to run exponential algorithms grows too fast to expect to be able to compute exact solutions in all cases.

Author: PEB

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Entry modified 13 August 2004.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "polynomial time", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed. 13 August 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: