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.
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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., U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. 13 August 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: http://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/polynomialtm.html