10 Difference Between Flowchart And Algorithm (With Pictures)

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Flowcharts and algorithms are both tools used in computer programming and problem-solving to visually represent the logical steps and processes of a task. However, they serve different purposes and have different characteristics.

Get to understand the difference between Flowchart and algorithm. The basis of comparison includes: complexity, geometrical diagrams, and scope of usage, use, users, debugging, solutions, branching and looping.

What Is A flowchart?

A flowchart is a diagram, which graphically represents the steps a program takes to process data. It uses different geometric shapes to describe the various actions the program carries out. For example, a parallelogram may be used to indicate input and output; a diamond may indicate a logical decision while a rectangular box may be used to indicate a simple mathematical operation.

In many cases a programmer sketches a flowchart using pencil and paper or by connecting shapes on a computer screen with software. In a large system, flowcharts act as an important document for both system and individual programs, this is because it precisely summarizes a program’s functions in easy-to-understand symbols clearly explained in English. In any case the program encounters hiccups; it saves time on the part of the programmer since he will have to check the flowchart in a few minutes before examining the program.

Also Read: Difference Between Algorithm And Pseudocode

What Is An Algorithm?

An algorithm is a well defined step-by-step process which is used in processing data (providing a solution to a particular problem). An algorithm accurately defines the steps a program takes to perform an operation. It includes input and output and logical comparisons. When an algorithm is used on a computer, several operations such as additions and subtractions are combined to perform more complex mathematical operations.

Algorithms are generally written in a natural language or plain English language. Algorithms can also be presented by pseudo code, flowcharts, drakon-charts etc.

Also Read: Difference Between While And Do-while

Algorithm vs Flowchart: Key Differences

Nature and Purpose

  • A flowchart is a visual representation that uses shapes and lines to illustrate the sequence of steps and decision points in a process or algorithm.
  • An algorithm is a step-by-step set of instructions designed to solve a specific problem or accomplish a task.

Visual vs. Textual

  • Flowcharts use symbols, shapes, and lines to depict the flow of control and data in a graphical manner.
  • Algorithms are typically represented in a textual form using a programming language or pseudocode.

Level of Detail

  • Flowcharts are often used to provide a high-level overview of a process, emphasizing the flow of control and decision points.
  • Algorithms provide a more detailed and precise description of the steps involved in solving a problem.

Communication

  • Flowcharts are useful for presenting processes and concepts to non-technical audiences or for quickly conveying the overall structure of a process.
  • Algorithms are more suited for technical communication among programmers and developers.

Abstraction

  • Flowcharts may use abstract symbols and shapes, making them less tied to a specific programming language or implementation.
  • Algorithms can be written in specific programming languages or pseudocode, making them more language-specific.

Flexibility

  • Flowcharts can be a bit more flexible in terms of design and layout, allowing for creative representations.
  • Algorithms follow a structured and precise format, adhering to the syntax and rules of the chosen programming language.

Ease of Understanding

  • Flowcharts can be easier to understand for people who are new to programming or technical concepts.
  • Algorithms can be challenging for beginners to understand, especially if they are written in a programming language.

Documentation

  • Flowcharts are used for documenting processes, workflows, and decision-making logic.
  • Algorithms are used for documenting the step-by-step instructions required to solve a specific problem.

Tool Usage

  • Flowcharts are created using software tools specifically designed for diagramming, like Microsoft Visio or Lucidchart.
  • Algorithms are written in text editors, integrated development environments (IDEs), or specialized algorithm design tools.

Application Area

  • Flowcharts are commonly used in various fields beyond computer science, such as business process modeling, system design, and education.
  • Algorithms are primarily used in computer programming and mathematics for problem-solving and implementing solutions.

Algorithm And Flowchart: Key Takeaways

BASIS OF COMPARISON FLOWCHART ALGORITHM
Description  A flowchart is a diagram which represents different steps that can help in solving a problem. It is a diagram which is made step by step using different shapes and sizes of arrows which show their connection. An algorithm is a step by step process which is used in solving mathematical or sometimes computational problems. It can be expressed in any language including natural language, pseudocode and programming language.
Complexity Easy to create and be understood by any person. It is relatively difficult to be understood by a layman.
Geometrical diagrams It uses various kinds of geometrical diagrams, boxes and symbols which are interlinked with arrows or lines. Algorithm does not incorporate any kind of geometrical figure.
Scope of Usage Flowchart can be used in various fields to represent a process. Algorithm is basically used in the field of computer science and mathematics only.
Use It is used in analyzing, designing, documenting or managing a program in various fields. It can be used to define notion of decidability.
Users The user of flowchart does not require knowledge of a programming language to write and understand a flow chart. The user of does require knowledge of a programming language to write understand an algorithm.
Debugging Easier to debug errors. Difficult to debug errors.
Implementation No rules are employed. Predefined rules are implemented.
Branching and Looping Easy to show branching and looping. Difficult to show branching and looping.
Solution Solution is shown in graphical format. Solution is shown in non computer language.

Also Read: Difference Between Program And Software