Visual Languages and Design

The Visual Languages and Design group is interested in using appropriate visual representations of software artifacts to improve the process of software design and development. Research in this area includes visual programming languages, visual languages for design, end-user programming, HCI issues of visual languages, and the psychology of programming.

Contact Information: Dr. Philip T. Cox
Phone: 902-494-6460
Email: pcox@cs.dal.ca
Research Areas and
Projects:
  • Visual programming
    • general-purpose
    • domain-specific
  • Visualisation of software structures
  • Visual language formalisations
  • Visual programming for professional developers
  • Languages for design of structures
  • End-user programming
    • spreadsheet programmability
    • spreadsheet structure
  • Visual programming interfaces
    • touch-screen editing
  • HCI and visual languages
  • Psychology of programming
Funding: NSERC
Faculty Members:
Graduate Students and
Research Assistants:

PhD

  • Donald Morrison, PhD, Research area: Psychology of Programming, 01/2010-Present.
  • Simon Gauvin, PhD, Research Area: industrial application of visual languages, 2004 - Present.
  • Shawn Best, PhD, Research Area: visual programming for robot control, 2003 - Present.

Masters

  • Deepak Yal, MCS, Research Area: Visual programming, 03/2011-Present.
  • Michael Hackett, MCS, Research Area: Multi-touch editing for data flow languages, 01/2010-Present.
  • Kamrooz Naini, MCS, Research area: Inferring templates from spreadsheet systems, 09/2009-Present.
Alumni:
  • Anh Dang, MCS, Semantic Comparison of Structured Visual Dataflow Programs, 2009.
  • Omid Banyasad, PhD, Programming Parametrised Geometric Objects in a Visual Design Language, 2006.
  • Lei Dong, MCS, Transforming Visual Programs into Java and Vice Versa, 2002.
  • Baoming Song, MCS, A General Model for Component-based Software, 2000.
  • Omid Banyasad, MCS, A Visual Programming Environment for Autonomous Robots, 2000.
  • Zhihong Gao, MCS, Extending Scientific Visualization into the World Wide Web, 1998.
Related Conferences and
Journals:
  • VL/HCC 2010
  • VLC 2010
  • Diagrams 2010
  • VINCI 2010
  • AVI 2010
  • SoftVis 2010

Selected Publications

P.T. Cox, A. Dang, A Semantic Difference Algorithm for Structured Visual Dataflow Programs, International Journal of Advanced Intelligence, AIA International Advanced Information Institute.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Generating sample looks for geometric objects in a visual design language, (with O. Banyasad), Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, Elsevier.

P.T. Cox, A. Dang, Semantic Comparison of Structured Visual Dataflow Programs, Proc. 2010 Visual Information Communication International Symposium, Beijing (Sept. 2010), dx.doi.org/10.1145/1865841.1865856.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Visual Programming of Subsumption-Based Reactive Behaviour, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, Vol. 5, No. 4 (December 2008), pp361-378.

P.T. Cox, Visual Programming Languages, in Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering, B.W. Wah (Ed.), John Wiley & Sons Inc., Hoboken, (June 2008), dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470050118.ecse450

P.T. Cox, S. Gauvin, Controlled Dataflow Languages, Tech. Report CS-2008-05, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (June 2008)

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Generating sample looks for geometric objects in a visual design language, Tech. Report CS-2008-04, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (March 2008)

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Visual Programming of Subsumption-Based Reactive Behaviour, Tech. Report CS-2008-03, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (March 2008)

P.T. Cox, P. Nicholson, Unification of Arrays in Spreadsheets with Logic Programming, Proc. 2008 Symposium on the Practical Aspects of Declarative Languages, LNCS 4902, San Francisco, CA (Jan. 2008), 100-115.

P.T. Cox, Enhancing the Programmability of Spreadsheets with Logic Programming, Proc. 2007 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human Centric Computing, Coeur d'Alène, ID (Sept. 2007), 87-94.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Integrating Design Synthesis and Assembly of Structured Objects in a Visual Design Language,Theory and Practice of Logic Programming, 5(6), Cambridge University Press, (2005), 601-621.

P.T. Cox, S. Gauvin, A. Rau-Chaplin, Adding Parallelism to Visual Data Flow Programs, Proc. ACM Symposium on Software Visualization, St. Louis (2005), 135-144.

P.T. Cox, L. Dong, Converting Between Visual and Textual Data Flow Programs, 2004 International Conference on Visual Languages and Computing, in Proc. 10th Int. Conf. on Distributed Multimedia Systems, San Francisco (2004), 304-311.

S. M. Best, P.T. Cox, Programming an Autonomous Robot Controller by Demonstration Using Artificial Neural Networks, Proc. 2004 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human Centric Computing, Rome (2004), 157-159.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, An Automatic Layout Algorithm for Lograph, in Proc. 2004 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human Centric Computing, Rome (2004), 139-146.

S. Best, P.T. Cox, Using Artificial Neural Networks in the Visual Programming of Autonomous Robots, Tech. Report CS-2004-07, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (June 2004)

P.T. Cox, S. Gauvin, Exceptions in Visual Data Flow Programming Languages, 2003 International Conference on Visual Languages and Computing, in Proc. 9th Int. Conf. on Distributed Multimedia Systems, Miami FLA (2003), 360-367.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Design and Implementation of an Interpreter Engine for a Visual Logic Programming Language, Proceedings of the Second CologNet Workshop on Implementation Technology for Computational Logic Systems, Pisa, Italy, (2003), 39-50.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, On Translating Geometric Solids to Functional Expressions, Proc. 5th ACM-SIGPLAN International Conference on Principles and Practice of Declarative Programming, Uppsala, Sweden (2003), 44-55.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Interpreting Lograph, Tech. Report CS-2003-03, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (May 2003)

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Defining Behaviours for Solids in a Visual Design Environment, Tech. Report CS-2002-07, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (Oct. 2002)

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Defining Behaviours for Solids in a Visual Design Environment, IEEE Symposium on Human-Centric Computing: End-User Programming, Washington (2002), 93-95.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Solving Design Problems in a Logic-Based Visual Design Environment, Proc. IEEE Symposium on Human-Centric Computing: End-User Programming, Washington (2002), 90-92.

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Implementing Lograph, Tech. Report CS-2001-05, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (Nov. 2001)

O. Banyasad, P.T. Cox, Solving design problems in a logic-based visual design environment, Tech. Report CS-2001-04, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (Nov. 2001)

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, Experiences with Visual Programming Languages for End-Users and Specific Domains, Proc. OOPSLA Workshop on Domain-Specific Visual Languages, Univ. of Jyvaskyla, Dept. of Computer Science TR-26, Tampa Bay FL (October 2001), 87-96.

P.T. Cox, B. Song, A Formal Model for Component-Based Software, Proc. of 2001 IEEE Symposium on Visual/Multimedia Approaches to Programming and Software Engineering, Stresa, Italy (Sept 2001), 304-311.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, A Formal Model for Parametrised Solids in a Visual Design Language, Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 11(6), Academic Press (2000), 687-710.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, Building Environments for Visual Programming of Robots by Demonstration, Journal of Visual Languages and Computing 11(5), Academic Press (2000), 549-571.

P.T. Cox, H. Glaser, S. Maclean, A Visual Development Environment for Parallel Applications, Proc. of 1998 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, Halifax, Canada (Sept 1998), 144-151.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, A Model for Object Representation and Manipulation in a Visual Design Language, Proc. of 1998 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, Halifax, Canada (Sept 1998), 254-261.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, Visual Programming for Robot Control, Proc. of 1998 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, Halifax, Canada (Sept 1998), 217-224.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, LSD: A Logic Based Visual Language for Designing Structured Objects, Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 9(5), Academic Press (1998), 509-534.

P.T. Cox, C.R. Risley, T. Smedley, Toward Concrete Representation in Visual Languages for Robot Control, Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 9(2), Academic Press (1998), 211-239.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, J. Garden, M.McManus, Experiences with Visual Programming in a Specific Domain --Visual Language Challenge '96, Proc. of 1997 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, Capri, Italy (Sept 1997), 254-259.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, A Declarative Language for the Design of Structures, Proc. of 1997 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, Capri, Italy (Sept 1997), 438-445.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, Visual Languages for the Design and Development of Structured Objects, Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, 8(1), Academic Press (1997), 57-84.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, A Visual Language for the Design of Structured Graphical Objects, Proc. of 1996 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, Boulder CO (1996), 296-303.

P.T. Cox, H. Glaser; B. Lanaspre, Distributed Prograph, Parallel Symbolic Languages and Systems, T. Ito, R.H. Halstead and C. Queinnec (eds.) Springer Verlag LNCS 1068 (1996), 128-133.

T. Smedley, S.L. Byrne, P.T. Cox, Expanding the utility of spreadsheets through the integration of visual programming and user interface objects, Proc. of Advanced Visual Interfaces Workshop, Gubbio (May 1996), 148-155.

P.T. Cox, T. Smedley, Using visual programming to extend the power of spreadsheet computation, Proc. of Advanced Visual Interfaces Workshop, Bari (June 1994), 153-161.