Entanglement is often held up as the key ingredient that makes quantum algorithms well... quantum, and this can be traced back to the Bell states that destroy the idea of quantum physics as a hidden-state probabilistic model. In quantum information theory (from my rather weak understanding), entanglement can also be used as a concrete resource that bounds the ability to do certain kinds of coding.
But from other conversations (I recently sat on the Ph.D committee of a physicist working in quantum methods) I gather that entanglement is difficult to quantify, especially for mixed-state quantum states. Specifically, it appears hard to say that a particular quantum state has X units of entanglement in it (the student's Ph.D thesis was about trying to quantify amounts of entanglement "added" by well known gate operations). In fact, a recent Ph.D thesis suggests that a notion termed "quantum discord" might also be relevant (and needed) to quantify the "quantumness" of an algorithm or a state.
If we want to treat entanglement as a resource like randomness, it's fair to ask how to measure how much of it is "needed" for an algorithm. I'm not talking about complete dequantization, merely a way of measuring the quantity.
So is there currently any accepted way of measuring the "quantumness" of a state or an operator, or an algorithm in general ?