© 2013

Explaining Algorithms Using Metaphors

  • Reviews the state of the art in teaching algorithms and classic metaphors in computer science

  • Introduces new, inventive ways of teaching algorithms

  • Presents the results within the broader context of computer science education and popularization


Part of the SpringerBriefs in Computer Science book series (BRIEFSCOMPUTER)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Michal Forišek, Monika Steinová
    Pages 1-10
  3. Michal Forišek, Monika Steinová
    Pages 11-29
  4. Michal Forišek, Monika Steinová
    Pages 31-57
  5. Michal Forišek, Monika Steinová
    Pages 59-78
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 79-94

About this book


There is a significant difference between designing a new algorithm, proving its correctness, and teaching it to an audience. When teaching algorithms, the teacher's main goal should be to convey the underlying ideas and to help the students form correct mental models related to the algorithm. This process can often be facilitated by using suitable metaphors. This work provides a set of novel metaphors identified and developed as suitable tools for teaching many of the "classic textbook" algorithms taught in undergraduate courses worldwide. Each chapter provides exercises and didactic notes for teachers based on the authors’ experiences when using the metaphor in a classroom setting.


Algorithms Analogies Mental Models Metaphors Physics Analogies Teaching Algorithms

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceETH ZürichZurichSwitzerland

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Explaining Algorithms Using Metaphors
  • Authors Michal Forišek
    Monika Steinová
  • Series Title SpringerBriefs in Computer Science
  • Series Abbreviated Title SpringerBriefs Computer Sci.
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2013
  • Publisher Name Springer, London
  • eBook Packages Computer Science Computer Science (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4471-5018-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4471-5019-0
  • Series ISSN 2191-5768
  • Series E-ISSN 2191-5776
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 94
  • Number of Illustrations 59 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Computers and Education
    Science Education
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
IT & Software


From the reviews:

“This booklet is divided into four chapters, making it easy to follow the basic semiotics of the symbols used in the algorithms. … The book concludes with an appendix containing the solutions to the exercises in the chapters. … Anyone interested in teaching algorithms should read this valuable booklet. It includes appropriate text structure, easy-to-follow examples, discussions, and proposals, and could be of use to computer programming teachers and computer programmers looking to improve their programming skills.” (F. J. Ruzic, Computing Reviews, August, 2013)