(definition)

**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(n ^{k})* 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

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

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Entry modified 13 August 2004.

HTML page formatted Fri Mar 25 16:20:34 2011.

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