VL/HCC 2017 Summary

Guest post by Denae Ford, PhD student at NC State University.

This year’s IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC) was hosted in the beautiful City of Oaks—Raleigh, North Carolina. This was only my 2nd VL/HCC, but from what I could tell the atmosphere was still filled with familiar faces with innovative approaches and exciting results to share!

The conference was hosted in the Marbles Kids Museum which appropriately matched the Programming and Play special topic from the call for papers (CFP). This year’s conference was also co-located with 2nd Blocks and Beyond Workshop which brought many researchers interested in the K-12 learning gains from block-based interfaces. I really think this was a new twist from last year’s VL/HCC co-location with PPIG in Cambridge, UK.

I think the best representation of all the refreshing intersection was at the reception on Wednesday night at the Nature Research Center. The evening consisted of graduate consortium posters, showpieces, and demonstrations around the exhibits ocean excursions, microorganisms, and unraveled DNA. One very cool demo was by Alessio Malizia where he demoed a tool named TAPASPlay which used shapes as input and output of an algorithm to teach computational thinking.

Nature Research Center.

During the days, there were many amazing talks were given, but I’ll just highlight a few here:

Mary Beth Kery, a doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, presented the high value of exploratory programming from prior literature but also what it could mean for data scientist and other types of programmers learning through play(trial and error).

Titus Barik
, researcher at Microsoft Research, presented nostalgic concepts of play that got many of us into programming and reflected on how those concepts are reflected in how we program today.


I, Denae Ford, also presented our work on peer parity and presented how we can use identity to help programmers re-engage in online Q&A communities. I’ve shared my slides, paper, and blog online!

Chris Crawford, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, presented the very meta experience of programming using alpha and beta waves of EEG into block programming environments.

Betsy DiSalvo, was or final keynote of the day and discussed how we use metaphors to understand concepts in CS, see Value-driven Learning: Decoding and Building upon Playful Computing Education. However, she shined light on the fact that those concepts are only specific to culture are difficult to expand beyond the context of a single lens of white men. This becomes an issue when programmers from different cultures try to enter the field. She challenged us to examine our language, what we consider playful, what our audience values, and to self-reflect on our expert blind spots.

Betsy DiSalvo.

I also attended the graduate consortium, chaired by Eric Walkingshaw where it was a very welcoming atmosphere for feedback. Faculty panelists also include Marian Petre, Katie Stolee, and Scott Fleming.

I must say it was one of the most constructive doctoral consortiums I have ever attended. The feedback was practical, healthy difference in approaches, large projects were scoped, and the students were very engaged.

For more updates on the happenings of the conference you can check out the hashtag #VLHCC17. We hope to see you in Lisbon, Portugal for VL/HCC 2018!

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VISSOFT 2017 Summary

I (Leonel Merino) was happy to attend the VISSOFT conference in Shanghai from 18-19 September 2017. This year there were nine full technical papers, six tool demo (TD) papers, and four new ideas and emerging results (NIER) papers.

There were two keynotes during the conference. The first by Stephen Reiss entitled “Visualization in Code Bubbles: A Perspective and Look Ahead” presented his contributions to the software visualization domain over the last two decades. Amongst others, he described his work with Code Bubbles —a visual programming interface, in which pieces of code are encapsulated in bubbles that can be linked, and reused across the application to compose various functionalities. He spiced-up his presentation with provocative statements such as that software visualization is a failure since most IDEs are mostly text-based, but he also explained that visualization is constantly used in IDEs in the form of navigation widgets, word-sized charts and graphs. The take home message of his presentation was 1) visualization should focus on displaying the data, 2) users do not have time to find insights, they need quick answers, and 3) simpler visualization techniques work better. The second day Shixia Liu presented “Interactive Model Analysis”, in which she uses visual analytics for supporting interactive machine learning. She elaborated on her work for enabling human users to understand and diagnose machine learning models.

Steve Reiss, keynote, Visualization in Code Bubbles: A Perspective and Look Ahead.

During the conference, there were presented several interesting papers. To name a few, “iTraceVis” [1] that describes visualization of analyze source code reading based on eye tracking technology. A tool demo paper [2] that proposed a chat-based interface for the interactive visualization of software artifacts. The “Method Execution Reports” full paper [3] for automating the documentation of method execution. And, the “SoL Mantra” tool demo paper [4] that proposed a solar metaphor for identifying libraries update opportunities.


Besides our paper [5] that focuses on the evaluation of the impact of the medium in the effectiveness of 3D software visualization, there were several others papers that focused in 3D visualization techniques. One [6] that presented an animated 3D software city for analyzing real-time performance. One tool demonstration [7] that used an Oculus Rift device for displaying the visualization of the components of OSGi-based applications. One full paper that presented the Code Park tool [8], which uses virtual reality displayed in a computer screen for source code reading. And the Getaviz tool demo paper [9] that described support for automating some laborious tasks when conducting empirical evaluations of software visualizations.

2017-09-18 21.28.18Medium in the effectiveness of 3D software visualization, Leonel Merino.

The best paper award was given to “Visual Exploration of Memory Traces and Call Stacks” [10]. The paper describes visualization of memory traces and call stacks using scatter and icicle plots based on data and control flow structures for memory profiling.

2017-09-19 11.13.44
Best paper, Visual Exploration of Memory Traces and Call Stacks.

The Most Influential Paper (MIP) award was given to “A task oriented view of software visualization” [11]. The award was received by Jonathan Maletic and Andrian Marcus who presented the storey of the paper using slightly similar slides than used when presenting the paper fifteen years ago. The motivation of the paper resulted from discussions in a previous workshop, in which they observed a need of a more concise taxonomy to classify software visualizations. Although along the years their research interests are not in software visualization anymore, they reflected on the little adoption of software visualization tools by practitioners and conjecture whether the main barrier for adoption is the disconnect between the problem domains on which visualization have focused and the domains that get the most attention from practitioners. They closed their presentation with a call-to-action for researchers in the software visualization domain to look for uses cases in software development for which software visualization can demonstrate its unique usefulness.

2017-09-19 16.32.49
Most influential paper, A task oriented view of software visualization.

The conference ended with an open steering committee election, in which were elected three new members: Bonita Sharif, Andrea Mocci, and Ivan Beschastnikh.

Steering Committee elections.

Demoing CityVR

All in all, I had a great time attending the talks, meeting new people and demoing CityVR [12] during the demo session (though I formally presented the tool in the ICSME conference a few days after VISSOFT). I liked the fact that VISSOFT is a rather small conference that facilitates to engage in interesting discussions. I look forward to attend the next version of the conference in Madrid!

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2017-09-19 14.16.22

2017-09-19 15.03.14

Leonel Merino
PhD student
Software Composition Group
University of Bern


[1] “iTraceVis: Visualizing Eye Movement Data Within Eclipse”. Benjamin Clark and Bonita Sharif
[2] “A Conversational User Interface for Software Visualization”. Stefan Bieliauskas and Andreas Schreiber.
[3] “Method Execution Reports: Generating Text and Visualization to Describe Program Behavior”. Fabian Beck, Hafiz Ammar Siddiqui, Alexandre Bergel and Daniel Weiskopf
[4] “SoL Mantra: Visualizing Update Opportunities Based on Library Coexistence”. Boris Todorov, Raula Gaikovina Kula, Takashi Ishio and Katsuro Inoue
[5] “On the Impact of the Medium in the Effectiveness of 3D Software Visualizations”. Leonel Merino, Johannes Fuchs, Michael Hund, Craig Anslow, Mohammad Ghafari, Oscar Nierstrasz, Michael Behrisch and Daniel Keim
[6] “Using High-Rising Cities to Visualize Performance in Real-Time”. Katsuya Ogami, Raula Gaikovina Kula, Hideaki Hata, Takashi Ishio and Kenichi Matsumoto
[7] “Interactive Visualization of Software Components with Virtual Reality Headsets”. Andreas Schreiber and Marlene Brüggemann.
[8] “Code Park: A New 3D Code Visualization Tool”. Pooya Khaloo, Mehran Maghoumi, Eugene Taranta II, David Bettner and Joseph Laviola Jr.
[9] “Getaviz: Generating Structural, Behavioral, and Evolutionary Views of Software Systems for Empirical Evaluation”. David Baum, Jan Schilbach, Pascal Kovacs, Ulrich Eisenecker and Richard Müller.
[10] “Visual Exploration of Memory Traces and Call Stacks”. Patrick Gralka, Christoph Schulz, Guido Reina, Daniel Weiskopf and Thomas Ertl
[11] “A task oriented view of software visualization”, J. I. Maletic, A. Marcus and M. L. Collard, 2002
[12] “CityVR: Gameful Software Visualization”. Leonel Merino, Mohammad Ghafari, Craig Anslow, Oscar Nierstrasz

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VISSOFT 2017 – Program

VISSOFT 2017 will take place on September 18-19, 2017 in Shanghai, China. The program has now been released.


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Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Computer Graphics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Computer Graphics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Come and join a collaborative and growing team in computer graphics teaching & research led by Professor Neil Dodgson, and combine your passion for knowledge with a life in one of the world’s most desirable countries to live in. The appointment will be at the level of Lecturer or Senior Lecturer (equivalent to a US Assistant Professor or Associate Professor) and will be for a fixed term of four years. All areas of computer graphics and visualization are of interest, but applications are particularly welcome from people with interests in realtime 3D computer graphics.

This is a rare opportunity to develop your academic career in a collegial and collaborative environment at the heart of New Zealand’s nexus of industry, research and government sectors. Wellington’s landscape and lifestyle, along with Victoria University’s standing as the top research institute in New Zealand and in the top 2% worldwide, means that this position is an outstanding combination of academic opportunity and work/life balance. The Faculty’s strategic direction and commitment to collaborative, inter-disciplinary and globally impactful academic work will mean that early-career and mid-career academics will be able to enhance both their research and teaching portfolios. We are committed to combining research excellence with innovative and motivating teaching, maintain strong local connections with world-class companies such as Weta Digital, and we are also developing a new Institute for Computational Media, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

For more information on this position please contact Professor Neil Dodgson, School of Engineering and Computer Science at: neil.dodgson@vuw.ac.nz.

Applications must be submitted online at http://www.victoria.ac.nz/about/careers

Application reference number 1723
Applications close 2 October 2017

Victoria University of Wellington – Computer Graphics

Weta Digital

Wellington ranked as the #1 city in the for world for having the highest quality of life – according to Deutsche Bank, 2017

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Visualize your software via 3D cities in Virtual Reality: CityVR, work done by Leonel Merino.

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Visualize Sorting Algorithms

Here are some examples of visualizing sorting algorithms:

Visualization and Comparison of Sorting Algorithms –

Visualization of 24 Sorting Algorithms In 2 Minutes –

15 Sorting Algorithms in 6 Minutes –

Sorting Algorithms (Bubble Sort, Shell Sort, Quicksort) –

Reversed 15 Sorting Algorithms in 6 Minutes –

Sorting Algorithms: Quicksort, Heapsort, Shellsort, Bubblesort, Shaker/Cocktail, Selection, Linear –

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VISSOFT 2017 – CFP NIER and Tool Track

** NIER and Tool track deadline is June 23, 2017 **

VISSOFT 2017: 5th IEEE Working Conference on Software Visualization

-== Call for Papers ==-

Software visualization is a broad research area whose general goal is
to enhance and promote the theory, realization, and evaluation of
approaches to visually encode and analyze software systems, including
software development practices, evolution, structure, and software
runtime behavior. Software visualization is inherently
interdisciplinary, drawing on theories and techniques from information
visualization and computer graphics and applying these in the software
engineering domain. The VISSOFT conference is principally a venue for
publishing and discussing research related to software visualization.
VISSOFT brings together a community of researchers from software
engineering, information visualization, computer graphics, and
human-computer interaction to discuss theoretical foundations,
algorithms, techniques, tools, and applications related to software
visualization. This year’s VISSOFT, co-held with ICSME, encourages a
variety of submissions that address outstanding challenges in software
systems using visualization. This includes technical papers, empirical
studies, applications, case studies, and papers that present novel
ideas and tools.

VISSOFT topics of interest include:
* Innovative visualization and visual analytics techniques for
analysis of software engineering data. This includes source code,
dependencies, repositories, developer social networks like
StackOverflow and GitHub, mobile app reviews, documentation, runtime
logs, and DevOps data.
* Visualization to support software development activities, including
design, requirements engineering, program comprehension, software
testing, and debugging.
* Interaction techniques and algorithms for software visualization
* Visualization-based techniques in software engineering education
* Integration of software visualization tools with development environments
* Empirical evaluation of software visualizations
* Industrial experience with using software visualization
* Applications of new technologies to enhance software visualization,
including virtual reality, augmented reality, gamification, and
machine learning.

We solicit papers that present original, unpublished research results.
Papers will be rigorously reviewed by an international program
committee. In addition to technical papers, VISSOFT features a New
Ideas or Emerging Results (NIER) track and a Tools track. All accepted
submissions will appear in the conference proceedings and the IEEE
Digital Library.

-== Technical papers ==-

A technical paper contribution must describe an in-depth and mature
research result relevant to software visualization. The content of a
technical paper can be at a maximum 10 pages long (including all
figures, tables, and appendices). However, the 10-page limit does not
include the bibliography, which is not limited in length.

The submission of a video (up to 5 minutes in length) to accompany the
paper is highly encouraged to show interaction possibilities. Authors
who wish to submit a video should provide a URL to the video.

Authors will be given the opportunity to provide a response to
reviewer requests for clarifications before a final decision is made.

Important Dates:

Abstract Submission: May 2, 2017
Paper Submission: May 9, 2017
Author Response Period: May 29 – June 2, 2017
Author Notification: June 9, 2017

Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=vissoft2017

A Mate 9 smartphone will be awarded to a distinguished technical
paper, sponsored by Huawei.

Special issue:
We plan to invite a selection of the technical papers accepted at
VISSOFT 2017 to submit an extended version to a journal.

-== Artifacts ==-

Traditionally, technical research papers are published without
including any artifacts (such as tools, data, models, videos, etc.),
even though the artifacts may serve as crucial and detailed evidence
for the quality of the results that the associated paper offers.
Following the effort initiated at ESEC/FSE’11, authors of accepted
technical papers at VISSOFT 2017 can have their artifacts evaluated by
the program committee. Positively evaluated artifacts will be
reflected in the paper publication, presentation, and be formally
announced during the conference. More information about the artifact
evaluation process may be found on http://www.artifact-eval.org.

Important Dates:
Artifact submission: June 25, 2017
Artifact notification: July 15, 2017
Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=vissoft2017

-== NIER and Tool papers==-

We accept two types of paper submissions: NIER contributions (New
Ideas and Emerging Results) and Tool contributions. The NIER
contributions describe work-in-progress and preliminary exciting
results. Authors should include open questions and even provocative
hypotheses to get early feedback on their research ideas or even
support through new research collaborations. NIER papers have to be
maximum 5 pages long (including bibliography). Tool contributions
describe the design or actual utilization of software visualization
tools, with a focus on relevant tool construction aspects or the use
of the tool for gaining new insights. Authors should be prepared to
demonstrate their tool at the conference. The submission may also
contain a link to a screencast (e.g., YouTube video). Tools papers
have to be maximum 5 pages long
(including bibliography).

Important Dates:
Paper submission date: June 23, 2017
Notification: July 24, 2017
Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=vissoft2017

-== Organizing Committee ==-
General Chair:
Kang Zhang, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA

Program Co-Chairs:
Ivan Beschastnikh, University of British Columbia, Canada
Andrea Mocci, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland

Publicity Co-Chairs:

Cong Chen, Fujitsu Laboratories of America, USA

Bin Lin, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland

NIER/Tool Co-Chairs:
Bonita Sharif, Youngstown State University, USA
Olga Baysal, Carleton University, Canada

Artifact Evaluation Co-Chairs:
Anne Etien, École Polytechnique Universitaire de Lille, France
Omar Benomar, Yellow Pages / Pages Jaunes and Université de Montréal, Canada

Most Influential Paper Award Chairs:
Stephan Diehl, University of Trier, Germany
Malcolm Munro, Durham University, UK

For updates, visit http://vissoft.info follow
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ieeevissoft/

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