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Title: Visualising Software as a Particle System
Authors: Scarle, Simon
Walkinshaw, Neil
First Published: 28-Sep-2015
Presented at: The 3rd IEEE Working Conference on Software Visualization (co-located with the International Conference on Software Maintenance ICSM 2015), (VISSOFT'15) September 27-28, 2015, Bremen, Germany.
Publisher: IEEE
Citation: Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Visualization (VISSOFT'15), September 27-28, 2015, Bremen, Germany
Abstract: Current metrics-based approaches to visualise un- familiar software systems face two key limitations: (1) They are limited in terms of the number of dimensions that can be projected, and (2) they use fixed layout algorithms where the resulting positions of entities can be vulnerable to mis- interpretation. In this paper we show how computer games technology can be used to address these problems. We present the PhysVis software exploration system, where software metrics can be variably mapped to parameters of a physical model and displayed via a particle system. Entities can be imbued with attributes such as mass, gravity, and (for relationships) strength or springiness, alongside traditional attributes such as position, colour and size. The resulting visualisation is a dynamic scene; the relative positions of entities are not determined by a fixed layout algorithm, but by intuitive physical notions such as gravity, mass, and drag. The implementation is openly available, and we evaluate it on a selection of visualisation tasks for two openly- available software systems.
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Conference Paper
Rights: Copyright © The Authors, 2015. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Appears in Collections:Computer Software, Dept. of Computer Science

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