This series of articles takes a look at some of fundamental building blocks of computer science. The aim is to give a brief overview so that you have a basic understanding of the concept mentioned. More links to resources and other articles are provided.

Flowcharts

Computer code is essentially a series of processes that get executed in order to perform some form of task. As programmers, you may find that it can be helpful to visualise a process before coding it, flowcharts allow us to do that.

When creating flowcharts there are a few good guidelines to follow, they are:

  • Write states and instructions inside of rectangles.
  • Write decision steps inside of triangles.
  • Never mix and instruction step and a rectangle step.
  • Connect sequential steps with arrows.
  • Mark the start and end of the process.
In Software Engineering we tend to use a more complex version called UML. UML, or universal modelling language, is used to define a standard way to visualise the way a system has been designed.

Pseudocode

Pseudocode is essentially human readable code that is also used to help express computational processes. Below is an example:

SET grade counter to one

While grade counter is less than or equal to ten

SET the class average to the total divided by ten

Print the class average.

Note: Pseudocode is rarely used by developers, however it is used when algorithm designs become very complex and high in mathematical processes.

Next up is mathematical models