Difference Between Flowchart and Algorithm

Difference Between Flowchart and Algorithm

Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Jan 5, 2023 17:39 IST

The article talks about flowcharts and algorithms and discusses difference between flowchart and algorithm.

Flowchart and algorithm are two interrelated computing terms. Both represent the solution to a problem, but they have different uses and characteristics. A flowchart is a graphical communication tool to describe and document a process, while an algorithm is a series of steps to solve a problem.

Content

What is a Flowchart?

A flowchart is a graphical representation of the series of steps to execute a program. In other words, a flowchart is the graphical form of an algorithm. The flowchart can be particularly useful in programming and uses different geometric patterns to demonstrate the sequential steps involved in a process.

A flowchart enables the users to present ad view the elements of a program individually, thereby contributing to the analysis and comparison of steps. It makes complex processes easier to understand, and the program will have a good chance of success.

How to Build a Flowchart?

A flowchart is built with a series of symbols and lines. These symbols represent the steps to follow to reach a result. The lines show the sequence of steps to follow to complete the process. Symbols are also used to represent inputs, outputs, decisions, loops, and other elements of a process.

What is an Algorithm?

An algorithm is a step-by-step method of solving problems. It includes a set of rules/instructions that a computer program must follow. It is used to find solutions to complicated problems in a reasonable amount of time. An algorithm is a detailed description of a procedure to solve a problem. Algorithms can be written in programming languages, such as Java or C++, to be executed by a computer.

An algorithm has fundamental characteristics as listed below –

• An algorithm must be precise and indicate the order in which each step is carried out.
• An algorithm must be well-defined. That is, if the execution of the algorithm is followed twice, the same logical sequence must be obtained.
• The algorithm must be precisely defined for each step, i.e., any ambiguity must be avoided when defining each step.
• Algorithms should be expressed in either mathematical or computer programming language.
• An algorithm must be “FINITE.” If an algorithm starts, it must end at some point. It must have a finite number of steps.
• Input: The algorithm will have zero or more inputs. These quantities also belong to specified sets of objects. For example, they can be character strings, integers, natural, fractional, etc. These are always representative quantities of the real world expressed in a way suitable for computer interpretation.
• Output: The algorithm has one or more outputs with the inputs.

How is an Algorithm Built?

An algorithm is built with a series of detailed steps. These steps must be executed to reach the desired result. Algorithms can be written in a programming language, such as Java or C++, to be executed by a computer. Below are some of the basic steps involved in building an algorithm –

Analysis of the problem: Identify the inputs, processes, and outputs of the problem. Declaration of variables.

Design of the Algorithm: Describes the orderly sequence of the steps, without ambiguity, that is, being precise and truthful in the search for the solution to the problem.

Coding of the Algorithm: The expression in a programming language of the steps defined in the algorithm.

Execution: Execution and validation of the program by the computer.

Differences Between Flowchart and Algorithm

Below are three important differences between a flowchart and an algorithm:

Usage: A flowchart documents and communicates a process while an algorithm finds solutions to complex problems.

Construction: A flowchart is built with symbols and lines, while an algorithm is built with detailed steps.

Execution: A flowchart can be represented visually, while an algorithm can be written in programming language for execution by a computer.