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The analysis and execution of partial algorithm descriptions is an important part of the algorithm design process (as is borne out by studying the behavior of human algorithm designers). In this paper, we describe a language for representing partially designed algorithms and a process, developmental evaluation, that can discover useful knowledge to guide design. Using these and other results from our research in artificial intelligence, we are building a system, DESIGNER, that automatically designs algorithms. This paper also compares developmental evaluation to execution and analysis techniques used for testing complete programs and for validation of abstract specifications; concepts similar to those found in developmental evaluation are thus shown to apply to all stages of the software life cycle.