I am currently reading a survey paper on the multiplicative weight update meta-algorithm. I am not quite sure what they mean by "meta-algorithm". Is it simply a general algorithm that can be used for different purposes?

I couldn't find any exact definition for this term, though I have found examples of meta-algorithms such as Boosting in machine learning.


I interpret it as meaning "algorithmic technique". It's a general framework that can be used to solve a number of problems.

Don't worry too much about the meaning of that phrase. It's not something with an accepted definition, and you don't need to understand it to gain the value from that survey paper; it's just a passing phrase. Instead, focus on understanding the ideas and technical results in the survey paper.

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    $\begingroup$ You know, for a field built on the ruthless exactness demanded by the machines we code, when it comes to communicating with fellow humans we're really, really bad at it. $\endgroup$ – corsiKa Apr 16 at 4:13
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    $\begingroup$ @corsiKa The implementer of humans followed Postel's principle (well half of it...) which makes it hard to tell when ambiguous or erroneous input is processed incorrectly. If communication with humans demanded ruthless exactness and had clear feedback of failure, I'm sure communication would be much more precise. However, Postel's principle leads to a need to maintain bug-compatibility so we can't expect it to be fixed in a future version. More seriously, I don't think computer scientists are particularly worse than average on this front. $\endgroup$ – Derek Elkins Apr 16 at 6:15

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