Technology

Difference Between Algorithm and Flowchart

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Main Difference

Algorithm usually is procedure or sometimes even called a formula which is used in solving mathematical and computer science problems. While on the other hand flowchart is a diagram which contains different steps through which a problem can be explained. In short flowchart is the pictorial form of representation of a process and algorithm is done using a step by step process. And flowchart is a tool which is used with algorithms. Additionally flow charts can be used in the organization of different processes for many different purposes like educational, algorithms and personal etc. Algorithms are used for mathematics and computer purposes and if a person wants to explain a new concept then he should go for algorithms. The making of flowcharts is not that difficult and complex as compared to algorithms. Moreover when we talk about algorithms they are not dependent upon different computer languages, they are easy in that sense but still are complex. Whereas in the case flowcharts, they are represented in a smooth flow of data as the entire program can be made with easy steps whether it is a formal one or an informal one. Also the sequence in a flowchart can be made and expressed through different sizes arrows and boxes, it can be done every creatively so it is interesting to look at. It also provides certain modifications for running a program and also the facility of coding. And in a flowchart we can easily highlight the major elements and their relationship in between. Furthermore algorithms can be expressed in different kinds of notations which include natural languages, programming languages, flowcharts, pseudocode and also control tables. Additionally, algorithms can be classified through the means of recursion, serial, parallel or distributed and they can be also viewed as controlled logical deduction. They can also be converted into flowcharts and also into computer programs.

Comparison Chart

AlgorithmFlow Chart
Step by Step formationBox by box formation
Usage
Mostly run to complete or manage a program implementation.Can be used in general terms to solve any problem related to an individual or a group.
Apprehension
More detailed but difficult to understand by a layman.Less detailed but easy to understand by everyone.
Terms
Specific programming language used.Use of logics and signs is the main tool.
Connection
Initiated with the help of a flow chartBased on general thoughts and first planning ideas.
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What is Flowchart?

Flowchart is a diagram which is made step by step using different shapes and sizes of arrows which show their connection. It also represents algorithms and different workflows. The purpose of the flowchart is mainly to design, manage and to analyze different programs and processes conducted in various areas. Flowchart was introduced by Frank Gilberth in 1921 and there were many types of flowcharts introduced which include document flowchart, program flowchart, system flowchart and data flowcharts. Additionally, the different types of flowcharts shapes are flow line which represents an arrow, terminal (sphere shape), process (rectangular shape), decision (diamond or a rhombus shape), input/output (parallelogram) and preparation (hexagon) etc. So, mostly flowcharts are graphical representations regarding the flow of the process.

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What is Algorithm?

This is referred to as a step-by step problem solving which includes calculations, reasoning and data processing of tasks. The word ‘algorithm’ came from al-Khwarizmi, who was a Persian astronomer, mathematician, scholar and geographer. The algorithms can be expressed and analyzed through flowcharts, drakon-charts, pseudocode, natural languages etc. Moreover many ways of classification for algorithms is through the means of recursion, serial, parallel or distributed and they can be also viewed as controlled logical deduction. Likewise algorithms are very easy and every step involved in the process has its own sequence which is quite logical, additionally algorithms can be converted into flowcharts and also into computer programs and interestingly they are independent of any computer language and it uses English language for describing the logic so it has no restrictions. If a person has a new concept and wants to explain a new concept then you should opt for algorithm.

Key Differences

  1. Flow chart is a pictorial representation; algorithm is done through step by step direction.
  2. Flow charts can be used in the organization of different processes for many different purposes; algorithms are used for mathematics and computer purposes.
  3. Flowchart was introduced by Frank Gilberth; the word ‘algorithm’ came from al-Khwarizmi.
  4. The making of flowcharts is not that difficult and complex as compared to algorithms.
  5. Flow charts can be used for many different purposes like educational, algorithms and personal etc. whereas Algorithms are used for mathematics and computer purposes.
  6. The algorithms can be expressed and analyzed through flowcharts; while flowcharts can be analyzed themselves.
  7. Flowchart can be made quite creatively by involving different shapes as compared to algorithms.
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Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

In short it can be said that both the terms although are related to each other in some way, are very different to each other when you look at the literal meaning and detailed explanation. Hopefully this article would have helped in clearing the confusion.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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