IATE Term of the Week: algorithm


Luxembourg celebrates its National Day on the 23rd of June. This year Luxembourgers will enjoy a wonderful weather but will also have the chance to listen to a unique musical piece produced thanks to…artificial intelligence! It is in this context that we have chosen ‘algorithm’ as this week’s IATE Term of the Week. Do you want to find out more?


The Dictionary of Psychology (Colman, 2009) defines the term algorithm as a well-defined computational procedure that takes a value or set of values as input and, after a finite sequence of computational steps, produces a value or set of values as output. Artificial intelligence relies heavily on algorithms to (re)create actions that could easily be the result of human action, with obvious -yet evolving- limitations. The production of artwork, including musical compositions, using algorithms has created a lot of expectation and raised intense debates regarding the definition of art itself.

Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and Minister of Culture confirmed two weeks ago that on the occasion of Luxembourg’s National Day, a piece of music had been commissioned to AIVA (Artificial intelligence virtual artist), a Luxembourgish start-up company launched by the brothers Pierre and Vincent Barreau. The company announced in 2016 the creation of their artificial intelligence deep-learning algorithm (AIVA), which they have taught to compose entirely new emotional music by learning from the public-domain work of great classical composers, such as Bach, Beethoven or Mozart. Below you can read the description from AIVA’s website:

Aiva is an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) capable of composing emotional music, a deed usually considered to be deeply human. She has been learning the art of music composition by reading through a large collection of music partitions, written by the greatest composers (Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc.) to create a mathematical model representation of what music is. This model is then used by Aiva to write completely unique music. Recently, Aiva became the first virtual artist to have her creations registered with an author’s rights society (SACEM), a feat that many artists thought impossible to achieve for at least another decade. This achievement does not mean that Aiva will replace musicians; we will continue to encourage collaborations between man and machine.

Coincidence or not, today’s Google Doodle is a homage to Oskar Fischinger, a visual and musical innovation artist from the early years of the 20th Century:

Google doodleHere you can also find the screenshot for algorithm in IATE. We invite you to send us our suggestions to improve the database, whether in a missing or existing language entry, by clicking on the button below:

Algorithm IATE screenshot

[su_note note_color=”#dcea0f”][su_button url=”http://termcoord.eu/contribute-to-iate/” style=”flat”]Contribute to IATE![/su_button] We would appreciate your contribution to update this term in your language. An IATE terminologist of the relevant language will be in charge of the validation of contributions and, thus, a delay is to be expected.[/su_note]


We invite you to listen to the AIVA algorithm’s “Genesis” – Op. 21 for Orchestra to get an idea of what might be heard tomorrow in Luxembourg and to read some previous posts related to artificial intelligence and technology:

Written by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. She is pursuing a PhD as part of the Communication and Contemporary Information Programme of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).


  • Google (2017) Oskar Fischinger’s 117th Birthday. Available at: http://bit.ly/2rFmQzJ (Accessed 22 June 2017)
  • L’essentiel (2017) L’intelligence artificielle s’invite à la fête nationale. Available at: http://bit.ly/2sWVLMw (Accessed 22 June 2017)
  • Machuron, Charles-Louis (2016) “AIVA: The Artificial Intelligence Composing Classical Music”, Silicon Luxembourg. Available at: http://bit.ly/2stiYES (Accessed 22 June 2017)
  • Oxford Reference (2017) A Dictionary of Psychology (3 ed.). Available at: http://bit.ly/2sYta9j (Accessed 22 June 2017)
  •  Rozières, Grégory (2016) “Écoutez le premier morceau de musique créé par l’intelligence artificielle de Google”, The Huffington Post. Available at: http://bit.ly/2sWL7FD (Accessed 22 June 2017)
  • Visit Luxebourg (2017) National Day in Luxembourg. Available at: http://bit.ly/2tRvrzW (Accessed 22 June 2017)