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Trace Tables

Understanding how programs work and how to use a trace table.

Trace tables are tables that consist of columns. Each column can represent a variable, a condition, or an output. Not every variable, condition or output in an algorithm needs a column in a trace table. The purpose of the table is that we can run through an algorithm and simulate what a computer would do if the program were to execute. We complete the table to show how the variables change, what the conditions would resolve to, and/or what outputs would be displayed.

Programming and Trace Table Examples

Presentation #2 - VB.Net Example

Why are they used?

There are two main reasons that trace tables are used.

The first is to determine what an algorithm does by running through it to see what happens as the algorithm runs. The second is to test the logic of an algorithm if there are errors that are not easily spotted.