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What is a timing diagram?

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A timing diagram is a Unified Modeling Language tool engineers use to represent the ways in which one or more objects behave over a specific time period. One of their most common uses is in the designing of embedded software, such as fuel injection control software in vehicles, and engineers sometimes also use timing diagrams when designing business software. Software engineers often utilize Unified Modeling Language to visualize system designs in a standardized manner.

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Engineers create two main types of timing diagrams: concise diagrams and robust diagrams. A concise diagram depicts the various states through which the object travels and the timing of such states in a succinct manner. A robust diagram provides more in-depth information about the details of each state.

A simple example of a concise timing diagram is one in which the explored object is a seminar that takes place at a college. Across the top of the diagram are brief descriptions of the various states, such as the proposal, scheduling, student enrollment, presenting and ending states, with one line above and below each state. The lines cross between the states to indicate state transitions. Below each state is the date or dates on which each state takes place. When constructing a robust version of this timing diagram, one includes details on specific events that take place during each state of the seminar.

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