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.
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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.
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.|
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