Im writing my project thesis in Computer Science and I want to make sure I am using correct and non colloquial terminology.

Is there better word for code when talking about your program code in programming. Is it acceptable to use code or program code? I remember my programming lecturer had a go at a few students for using the word code when to describe there program, but I just can not think of a better word.

  • 4
    In a more abstract sense, you can refer to it as an algorithm.
    – Paul
    Oct 6 '13 at 13:52
  • 1
    Maybe your instructor was opposing the use of "code" as countable, as is discussed for instance here? While it may look abhorrent, the use of "codes" is not uncommon in some academic circles. Oct 6 '13 at 14:59
  • 5
    Maybe "source code" would sound a little more formal than just "code" by itself. Oct 6 '13 at 15:53
  • 3
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about English Language Usage, not Academia
    – 410 gone
    Oct 7 '13 at 10:21
  • @EnergyNumbers: about english language that is to be used in an academic thesis ... therefore it's also on topic here.
    – user102
    Oct 7 '13 at 13:57

It depends what you want to refer to. For instance, if you were to implement an array sort in Java, you could refer to:

  • the sorting algorithm, as Paul mentioned, which could be described in pseudocode, and is independent from the language you used (note that it could be more readable to include within your thesis only the pseudocode of your algorithms, and then attach the actual code at the end, or provide it in a different file).
  • the program, which is the binary executable that takes an array as input and returns the sorted array.
  • the implementation, which refers to the way you defined the sorting algorithm in Java.
  • the data structures you manipulate, such as the array.
  • the source code, as Anonymous Mathematician mentions, which is the textual representation of your implementation (note that if you include the file at the end, then you can also refer to it with "the Java file", or "the file sort.java"; in this case, you can even include line numbers, which can be helpful to point to a specific part of your source code).

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