System for algorithm animation

Jon L. Bentley, Brian W. Kernighan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


An algorithm or a program can be animated by a movie that graphically represents its dynamic execution. A sorting algorithm, for instance, might be animated by a sequence of frames that shows a set of vertical lines of various heights being permuted into order of increasing height. Such animations are useful for developing new programs, for debugging, and for explaining how programs work. This paper describes ANIM, a basic system for algorithm animation. The output is crude, but ANIM is easy to use; a novice user can animate a program in an hour or two. ANIM currently produces movies with the X window system, among others; it also renders movies into 'stills' that can be included in TROFF or TEX documents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-30
Number of pages26
JournalComputing systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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