An algorithm is a step by step list of directions that need to be followed to solve a problem. The instructions should be simple enough so that each step can be done without thinking about it. Algorithms are often used to describe how a computer might solve a problem. But there are algorithms in the real world too. A recipe can be a type of algorithm. It tells what ingredients are needed to make the dish and what steps to follow. If the recipe tells exactly what to do without too much confusion, then it is an algorithm.