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Algorithm: What is it, what is it for and how does it work in computing?

Algorithm: What is it

The algorithms are widely used, and there are many inclinations depending on the area where they are discussed . In this case the type of algorithm that we mention is at the level of computing , that by making a short introduction, we tell you that it is the most used, before even any program.

Part of its utility is given because is the easiest way to do a programming , since it is much easier to understand it visually. If you want to know a little more about this topic, we invite you to read below, because in this post there is a very good material for you.

Here you will find, from what is an algorithm and its most common characteristics so that we can differentiate it from any other computer programming method, to what are its parts and the types that exist in the News .

What is an algorithm and what is it for in computing ?

The algorithms are lines of instructions , they are like a step-by-step of the things that must be done, but for nothing in the world can we compare them with the programming language . Thanks to them, many processes can be fully carried out, even fulfilling the order of response in some situations.

Its structure includes a set of orderly and finite steps , which allow the solution of problems, and in some cases in decision-making.

The algorithms are represented in flowcharts or flowcharts, where each figure contemplates a symbology. Its function, in a nutshell, is to make some previous programming arrangements. It is also seen as the kind of a programmatic draft, since does not include languages ​​, but what we want to be done in the correct order.

What are the main features of a computer algorithm?

Los algoritmos son muy útiles y cumple con las siguientes características:

  • It is necessary to indicate in them the order in which the actions must be carried out , that is, step by step.
  • It is defined , that is, it doesn’t matter how many times an algorithm is followed, because the result will be the same.
  • They must not be infinite algorithms, they must be finite , since it has a start and end of operations.
  • It should be as as readable as possible , because it is the one that will allow us to understand and read it as easy as possible.
  • The algorithms are defined in three parts: entry, p rocess, s alida

We can use as an example, a recipe book that explains:

  • Entry: Ingredients and utensils
  • Processes: Preparation of the recipe in the kitchen
  • Output: Plate finish

What are the parts of a computer algorithm?

To be more explicit with the parts of an algorithm, we leave the following:

  • Input: It is known as input to all the information that an algorithm gives, that is to say all those values ​​with which it will work.
  • Process : are all the calculations we need, so that we can start from a piece of information we call input, until get an expected result .
  • Output: is known as output, to the entire final result obtained through the process.

Types of algorithms How are they classified?

Algorithms are classified by type, as we show them below :

Computational algorithms

These are the types of algorithms whose resolution depends clearly on the calculation, and which are developed by means of a calculator or computer without any difficulty.

Non computational algorithms

It is the algorithm that does not require a computer process to solve steps or problems, whose steps for resolution are instructed by a human being.

Qualitative algorithm

Is that algorithm that allows the resolution without the intervention of the numerical calculations , but with the logical and / or formal sequences.

Quantitative algorithms

It is the opposite of the algorithm shown above, because depends on mathematical calculations to give a resolution.

What are the main methods of expression of an algorithm ?

In the many ways that algorithms can be expressed, we can find the natural language, pseudocode, flowchart and programming languages, but these are not the only ones, because there are still more. Although natural languages ​​ are enigmatic and extensive .

So that some incompressible conditions can be avoided, pseudocodes and flowcharts are used, so that it can be clearer when interpreting them, with these expressions we present how they are and what the algorithm structure is, including also the specific programming languages.

Algorithms use a programming language that is divided as follows:

  • High level description: is where the problems are established, then the mathematical model is selected and the algorithm is explained in a verbal way, although some include illustrations …
  • Formal descriptions: This is where pseudo codes are used, useful to describe the sequence of each of the steps to follow to find the solution.
  • Implementation : Algorithms expressed in specific programming languages ​​or of a specific object are shown, fully capable of carrying out a series of instructions or steps.

In order to demonstrate that the algorithms are correct, we must include a theorem, which allows us to give an opinion depending on the result of the study that you carry out.

Natural language

Are those that are generated spontaneously in a group of speakers with the purpose of communicating, something that is totally different from the other languages. Such, can be a built, or simply formal or simple programming languages, used for the study of a formal logic.

The written algorithms, have as main characteristic, to follow a process for the execution of common and logical actions, until solving a certain problem.

The disadvantages that we can present when making an algorithm with a language are:

  • Ambiguity
  • Non-universality
  • Amplitude of the same, which generates many errors.


It is what makes the high-level description of the algorithms , which we can use to make a mixture of natural languages, with some syntactic conventions that are typical of the same language, such as assignments , cycles and some conditions, although not standardized.

Generally used to describe algorithms in books or scientific publications , it is also the intermediate product of the development of an algorithm. This presents a great advantage over these and is that the algorithms are described in pseudocodes that require less storage capacity.

It is designed with the purpose of making it easier for people to understand the algorithms, on the other hand we can omit some irrelevant details that are highly useful for some implementation.

Pseudocodes are based on different conventions, which are based on syntax of specific programming languages. Although in some cases, it is understandable without us knowing or using a specific programming environment.

Examples of algorithms How to easily identify one?

So that you understand a little more of this, we leave these simple examples:

Algorithm to choose some party shoes:

  • Need the shoe and know which one to look for
  • Search the store
  • Verify that they are what we are looking for

Yes (go to the next step), No (return to the previous step)

  • Is it the size we are looking for?

Yes (Next step), NO (Return to third step)

  • Can we pay your cost?

Yes (next step), NO (return to step 3)

  • Buy the pair of shoes
  • End

Algorithm to prepare dinner:
  • Know what we are going to cook
  • Find the ingredients for cooking
  • Do the preparation of each one
  • Finish with the preparation
  • Eat
  • End

Before completing this article, we leave you some symbologies that are used in a flow-gram of algorithms, so you can quickly identify one.

simbolos de flujogramas