Algorithm Audiovisualization

Marc H. Brown, DEC Systems Research Center

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 7, 1994


For nearly a decade, animations of computer programs have enlightened and entertained viewers. Algorithm animations have proven to be useful for teaching computer science courses, designing and analyzing algorithms, producing technical drawings, tuning performance, and documenting programs. Just as useful (and equally entertaining!) are auralizations of programs. We have experimented using audio for reinforcing visual views, conveying patterns, replacing visual views, and signalling exceptional conditions. Sound does not merely enhance the beauty of a presentation; it can be used to give fundamental information. Now, it is hard for us to imagine trying to convey sufficient information in algorithm animations without sound, as we used to. This multi-media presentation will review our efforts in algorithm animation and auralization.


Marc H. Brown is a member of the research staff at Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center. He received the PhD in Computer Science from Brown University in 1987, working with Andy van Dam and Robert Sedgewick on the ``Electronic Classroom'' project. Brown was primarily responsible for the BALSA system, the courseware environment used in the classroom for interactive animation of computer programs. His subsequent work on BALSA-II was the basis for his dissertation, Algorithm Animation, selected as a 1987 ACM Distinguished Dissertation. Brown's current research interests focus on (parallel) algorithm animation, program audiovisualization, user interfaces, graphics, workstation environments, and computer science education.


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