The main difference between algorithm and pseudocode is that an algorithm is a step by step procedure to solve a given problem while a pseudocode is a method of writing an algorithm.
An algorithm is a procedure for solving a problem. In other words, it is a sequence of steps to solve a given problem. It can contain sequences, iterations, selection, etc. Usually, there can be several methods to solve a problem. It is important to analyze each solution and select the best approach to solving it. On the other hand, a pseudocode is a method of developing an algorithm. Programmers can use informal simple language to write a pseudocode and there is no strict syntax to follow. It is a text-based detailed design tool.
Definitions of algorithm and pseudocode
Algorithm : Systematic logical approach which is a well-defined, step-by-step procedure that allows a computer to solve a problem.
Pseudocode : It is a simpler version of a programming code in plain English which uses short phrases to write code for a program before it is implemented in a specific programming language.
An algorithm is used to provide a solution to a particular problem in form of well-defined steps. Whenever you use a computer to solve a particular problem, the steps which lead to the solution should be properly communicated to the computer. While executing an algorithm on a computer, several operations such as additions and subtractions are combined to perform more complex mathematical operations. Algorithms can be expressed using natural language, flowcharts, etc.
Let’s take a look at an example for a better understanding. As a programmer, we are all aware of the Linear Search program. (Linear Search)
Algorithm of linear search :
- Start from the leftmost element of arr and
one by one compare x with each element of arr.
- If x matches with an element, return the index.
- If x doesn’t match with any of elements, return -1.
Here, we can see how the steps of a linear search program are explained in a simple, English language.
Pseudocode – It is one of the methods which can be used to represent an algorithm for a program. It does not have a specific syntax like any of the programming languages and thus cannot be executed on a computer. There are several formats which are used to write pseudo-codes and most of them take down the structures from languages such as C, Lisp, FORTRAN, etc.
Many time algorithms are presented using pseudocode since they can be read and understood by programmers who are familiar with different programming languages. Pseudocode allows you to include several control structures such as While, If-then-else, Repeat-until, for and case, which is present in many high-level languages.
Note: Pseudocode is not an actual programming language.
Peudocode for Linear Search :
FUNCTION linearSearch(list, searchTerm):
FOR index FROM 0 -> length(list):
IF list[index] == searchTerm THEN
In here, we haven’t used any specific programming language but wrote the steps of a linear search in a simpler form which can be further modified into a proper program. That was all for today from difference between algorithm and pseudocode.