- When: 18th February 2020 14:00 - 15:00
- Where: Cole 1.33b
Visual programming environments have long been applied in an educational context for encouraging uptake of computer science, with a more recent focus on blocks-based programming as a means to teach computational thinking concepts. Today, students in primary, secondary and even tertiary education are learning to code through blocks-based environments like Scratch and App Inventor, and studies in these settings have shown that they ease the transition to ‘real’ programming in high-level languages such as Java and Python. My question is, do we need to bother with that transition? Can we accomplish more with blocks than just programming for its own sake? More ‘serious’ visual programming environments like LabVIEW for engineers, and Blueprints embedded in the Unreal Engine for game developers are testament to visual programming producing more than just toy programs, so how far could blocks go? In this talk, I’ll give an overview of blocks-based programming and its applications outside education, including its role in my PhD project and current postdoctoral research in allowing end-users with no programming experience to tailor spoken dialog systems.
Daniel is a postdoctoral research fellow working in the HCI group in UCD on the B-SPOKE project with Dr Ben Cowan. The goal of this project is to open up the development of Spoken Dialog Systems to the end-user without programming experience, through techniques from the field of end-user development. Prior to this, Daniel completed his PhD at the University of St Andrews, focusing on the adoption of an end-user development tool for psychology researchers to create their own data collection apps. Daniel is especially interested in applying blocks-based programming (the visual approach to learning code used in well-known tools like Scratch) to domain-specific applications, allowing end-users to customise their software experiences without writing a single line of code.
Abstract: Innovation and creativity are the research drivers of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community which is currently investing a vast amount of resources in the design and evaluation of “new” user interfaces and interaction techniques, leaving the correct functioning of these interfaces at the discretion of the helpless developers. In the area of formal methods and dependable systems the emphasis is usually put on the correct functioning of the system leaving its usability to secondary-level concerns (if at all addressed). However, designing interactive systems requires blending knowledge from these domains in order to provide operators with enjoyable, usable and dependable systems. The talk will present possible research directions and their benefits for combining several complementary approaches to engineer interactive critical systems. Due to their specificities, addressing this problem requires the definition of methods, notations, processes and tools to go from early informal requirements to deployed and maintained operational interactive systems. The presentation will highlight the benefits of (and the need for) an integrated framework for the iterative design of operators’ procedures and tasks, training material and the interactive system itself. The emphasis will be on interaction techniques specification and validation as their design is usually the main concern of HCI conferences. A specific focus will be on automation that is widely integrated in interactive systems both at interaction techniques level and at application level. Examples will be taken from interactive cockpits on large civil commercial aircrafts (such as the A380), satellite ground segment application and Air Traffic Control workstations.
Bio: Dr. Philippe Palanque is Professor in Computer Science at the University Toulouse 3 “Paul Sabatier” and is head of the Interactive Critical Systems group at the Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT) in France. Since the late 80s he has been working on the development and application of formal description techniques for interactive system. He has worked for more than 10 years on research projects to improve interactive Ground Segment Systems at the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and is also involved in the development of software architectures and user interface modeling for interactive cockpits in large civil aircraft (funded by Airbus). He was involved in the research network HALA! (Higher Automation Levels in Aviation) funded by SESAR programme which targets at building the future European air traffic management system. The main driver of Philippe’s research over the last 20 years has been to address in an even way Usability, Safety and Dependability in order to build trustable safety critical interactive systems. He is the secretary of the IFIP Working group 13.5 on Resilience, Reliability, Safety and Human Error in System Development, was steering committee chair of the CHI conference series at ACM SIGCHI and chair of the IFIP Technical Committee 13 on Human-Computer Interaction.