Skip to main content
OverflowAI is here! AI power for your Stack Overflow for Teams knowledge community. Learn more

An interface to efficiently find items in a digital system, typically by (but not limited to) typing keywords into a text box.

In computer science, a search algorithm is an algorithm designed to solve a search problem. Search algorithms work to retrieve information stored within particular data structure, or calculated in the search space of a problem domain, with either discrete or continuous values.

Although search engines use search algorithms, they belong to the study of information retrieval, not algorithmics.

The appropriate search algorithm to use often depends on the data structure being searched, and may also include prior knowledge about the data. Search algorithms can be made faster or more efficient by specially constructed database structures, such as search trees, hash maps, and database indexes.