As I am going through Introduction to Algorithms course from MIT, just past the first lecture, we can see the importance of formally proving an algorithm correct. If an algorithm is intuitively incorrect at first, then the need for formal reasoning becomes even more important.
Coming to the 2-d peak finding algorithm, here is a semi-formal reasoning:
- When we find a global maximum in a column and shift to either left (right), it is because this global maximum is less than the left (right) element. So, if there is a new global maximum in this column, then it is definitely more than all the elements in the previous column because it is more than the left (element) itself. So, the algorithm works.
- Will the same argument apply if we find a 1-D peak in a column instead of a global maximum? Does not look to me like so…