Visualizing Algorithms

Mike Bostock adapted his talk on visualizing algorithms from Eyeo 2014 for the web. He writes:

Algorithms are a fascinating use case for visualization. To visualize an algorithm, we don’t merely fit data to a chart; there is no primary dataset. Instead there are logical rules that describe behavior. This may be why algorithm visualizations are so unusual, as designers experiment with novel forms to better communicate. This is reason enough to study them.

But algorithms are also a reminder that visualization is more than a tool for finding patterns in data. Visualization leverages the human visual system to augment human intellect: we can use it to better understand these important abstract processes, and perhaps other things, too.

I’m also reminded of a video I came across some time ago, visualizing the inner workings of 15 different sorting algorithms: