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A flowchart can also be defined as a diagrammatic representation of an algorithm, a step-by-step approach to solving a task.The flowchart shows the steps as boxes of various kinds, and their order by connecting the boxes with arrows.Similarly, in UML, a standard concept-modeling notation used in software development, the activity diagram, which is a type of flowchart, is just one of many different diagram types.
In addition, many diagram techniques are similar to flowcharts but carry a different name, such as UML activity diagrams.
There are different types of flowcharts: each type has its own set of boxes and notations.
The two most common types of boxes in a flowchart are: A flowchart is described as "cross-functional" when the chart is divided into different vertical or horizontal parts, to describe the control of different organizational units.
The original programming flowcharts of Goldstine and von Neumann can be found in their unpublished report, "Planning and coding of problems for an electronic computing instrument, Part II, Volume 1" (1947), which is reproduced in von Neumann's collected works.
The flowchart became a popular tool for describing computer algorithms, but its popularity decreased in the 1970s, when interactive computer terminals and third-generation programming languages became common tools for computer programming, since algorithms can be expressed more concisely as source code in such languages.