Computer Science
posted by Kimberly .
After reviewing an algorithm that allowed a user to enter 3 different numerical values, if statements were used to find the smallest value.
Smallest of five: The assignment is to determine which method (either nested conditions, sequential compound conditions, nested and compound conditions, or using a placeholder variable) would be the best method for determining the smallest number of five user inputs which may contain duplicate values AND to write the algorithm for the problem.
We have not studied arrays or loops  only if statements so far. We are using Visual Logic or writing out if/else statements to arrive at the answer.
I wrote out how to find the smallest number of three numbers, but I don't know how to find the smallest number of five if there are two inputs that are the same number.
Should I use sequential or nested and compound conditions or a placeholder variable method?
Here's what I have so far:
Input num1
Input num2
Input num3
Input num4
Input num5
If num1 < num2 true then
if num1 < num3 true then
if num1 < num4 true then
if num1 < num5 true then
output &num1 "is the smallest."
Else if num1 = num2 true then
output &num "numbers are equal."
Else if num1 = num2 false then
if num1 > num3 true then...
ok...I'm stuck.
Anybody understand any of this? Can you help me with the thinking part of the logic on how to come up with how to solve this so I can get it on paper to think about before I get it into my head wrong?
Thanks,
Kimberly (42 year old student...now you understand...)

I'd use a placeholder value, and compare it against the other values as they come in:
input small
input num2
if num2 < small then small = num2
likewise for num3,4,5
output small "is the smallest"
If you aren't interested in reporting any duplicate values, then that's all there is to it. In fact, unless you want to report something about the incoming numbers, you can just use "num" for the input value each time.