Peter Young
Visualisation Research Group

Documents

Document Titles and dates


Progress Report, May 1997
BT Presentation Notes and Slides, February 1997
A New View of Call Graphs for Visualising Code Structures, December 1996
Visualisation of Software in Cyberspace : Thesis Proposal, July 1996
Visualisation of Software in Cyberspace : Literature Survey, July 1996
Software Visualisation, June 1996
Program Comprehension, May 1996
Survey of VR and VRML Software Systems, February 1996
Three Dimensional Information Visualisation, March 1996
Improving Visual Representations of Code, February 1996
From Software Engineers to Cybernauts, December 1995

Progress Report

This is a slightly modified verison of the presentation notes.

Abstract

This report describes research performed by the Visualisation Research Group in investigating the application of 3D graphics and virtual reality technology to software visualisation. A brief introduction to the field of software visualisation and 3D software visualisation is given followed by a description of some of the work done so far. This report is based on the presentation notes given below and as such is very similar.

HTML Version

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed).


BT Presentation Notes and Slides

To accompany presentations made on 3rd and 4th, February 1997

Abstract

This presentation describes research performed by the Visualisation Research Group in investigating the application of 3D graphics and virtual reality (VR) technology to software visualisation.

The purpose of this presentation is both to make people aware of current research into software visualisation and also to gain some insight into the problems faced and methods employed in industrial software maintenance. Most software engineers are generally aware of the field of software visualisation and will have at some point used or experienced some form of software visualisation tool. Less well known is the field of 3D software visualisation and information visualisation, the purpose of this presentation is partially to give a brief introduction to these areas prior to discussing this research. The remainder of the presentation will concentrate on discussing some of the problems faced in software visualisation and presenting some preliminary ideas and simple visualisations in order to generate discussion.

Slides and notes (uses frames)

Presentation notes only

Slides only


A New View of Call Graphs for Visualising Code Structures

Computer Science Technical Report 03/97

Abstract

Software visualisation promises to provide useful techniques for supporting the program comprehension process. One popular view of software structure is the call-graph which displays the relationships between functions in a program. Current software tools visualise these call-graphs as a directed graph. Typical software systems are very large and extremely complex, as a result they generally produce large and complex graphs which often present as much of a comprehension task as they attempt to address. This paper presents a new method for visualising call-graphs which moves away from the conventional node-link depiction. This new visualisation which uses a virtual reality environment shows how some of the conventional problems of call-graph visualisation can be overcome.

HTML Version.

Postscript Version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed).


Visualisation of Software in Cyberspace : Thesis Proposal

This document describes the research which I will be undertaking from now until September 1998. Don't let the title put you off - It's not as corny as it sounds. I have also produced a literature survey to accompany this proposal. This gives a more detailed impression of the various fields my research encompasses.

HTML version.

Postscript version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed).


Visualisation of Software in Cyberspace : Literature Survey

This document is comprised of four other documents presented here: Software Visualisation; Program Comprehension; Three Dimensional Information Visualisation; and Virtual Reality Software Systems. These documents constitute the body of my literature survey. This survey has been written to compliment my thesis proposal, which also gives a brief introduction to these fields and describes how they are related.

HTML version.

Postscript version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed).


Software Visualisation

Software visualisation is concerned with the graphical (and other media) representation of software systems. The goal of software visualisation is to aid program comprehension by presenting relevant information in a more intuitive, understandable and accessible format. During program comprehension it is suggested that the software engineer will a form a mental model or representation of a software system, typically constructed from abstract semantic components and the relationships between them. This model constitutes the maintainersí understanding of the software. It is thought that the graphical and generally more abstract representations presented using software visualisation will aid the process of generating, updating and verifying this mental model. This document describes current research in software visualisation and in particular the rapidly expanding field of 3D software visualisation; the application of 3D and virtual reality techniques to software visualisation.

This document is also included as part of my literature survey

Network Health Warning! This document contains LARGE illustrations.

HTML version.

Postscript version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed).


Program Comprehension

Understanding how a software system has been designed and implemented, in addition to knowledge of itís operation, is crucial to the task of maintaining the software. The field of program comprehension investigates how software engineers understand or comprehend program structure and operation. Possibly more importantly it also investigates how they form this understanding, typically starting with no prior knowledge of the software. This document provides an overview of the key theories in program comprehension. It describes how these theories are related and highlights any commonalties or contradictions between them.

This document is also included as part of my literature survey

HTML version.

Postscript version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed).


Survey of VR and VRML Software Systems

This is a survey of a number of available VR and VRML software systems which has been compiled from a variety of information sources on the Web. The majority of the VR systems are described on the merit of third party information, whereas a large number of the VRML browsers have been tested first hand and some rough evaluations made. The document is more heavily orientated towards the VRML browsers and provides links to the companies and sources of these browsers.

This document is also included as part of my literature survey

HTML version with added screen shots and links to software sources / company home pages.

Postscript version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word. This version does not contain any images or link information.

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed). This version does not contain any images or link information.


Three Dimensional Information Visualisation

This report describes a variety of 3D information visualisation techniques and research systems which have been developed to aid the human comprehension of large information systems.

This document is also included as part of my literature survey

Network Health Warning! This document contains LARGE illustrations.

New Revision : 4 November, 1996
This document has also been made into a Computer Science Technical Report, number 12/96.

HTML version. This will be the only version receiving any corrections or additions. This version was last revised on 4th November, 1996.

Postscript version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word. Some images in this version have been colour inverted for clarity on printout. The HTML version contains the original images.

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed). Some images in this version have been colour inverted for clarity on printout. The HTML version contains the original images.


Improving Visual Representations of Code

Computer Science Technical Report 10/96

Abstract

The contents of this report describe the work carried out by the Visualisation Research Group in the Centre of Software Maintenance at the University of Durham. For obtaining a high level understanding of the code systems graphical representations are more useful than purely textual representations. However, graphical representations still have a tendency to provide the maintainer with too much information. This information overloading is detrimental to program comprehension therefore ways of reducing graphical complexity, preferably without information loss are required. Thus the work of the Visualisation Group has been to investigate strategies and heuristics for graphical information representation. Strategies considered include clustering and hiding nodes, layout, the use of colour, and the use of 3D technologies. This paper describes the results of this work and provides examples from a detailed case study that has been performed.

HTML Version. This version includes GIF conversions of all figures, thus the quality is significantly lower than the postscript output.

Postscript Version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word (Mac)


From Software Engineers to Cybernauts

Software Centre 2005 Paper

This is a presentation paper for a small internal conference held in the Centre for Software Maintenance at Durham University. The conference was intended as a fun way of getting some views of where we think software could eventually lead in ten years time. The papers presented were intentionally far-fetched and should not be taken seriously.

HTML Version

Postscript Version (gzip compressed) generated from Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word Version (gzip compressed)


This page is maintained by Peter Young, please send any comments, jokes, insults or general abuse to (peter.young@durham.ac.uk).

Last updated: Friday 16 May, 1997.