October 1994 Newsletter

Issue: Number 15
Editor: Paola Kathuria


PPIG-7 Annual Workshop
EWITD'94 - Conference Report
Research Notes:


PPIG-7 Annual Workshop

Psychology of Programming Interest Group
4-6 January 1995
University of Edinburgh, Scotland

The annual PPIG workshop is an opportunity for researchers from both academia and industry to meet to discuss current ideas, research, techniques, and tools in the psychology of software engineering. The workshop format will be tailored according to the submissions but is likely to include paper presentations, discussion sessions, demonstrations, and posters, as well as ample time for informal discussion. Speakers have been invited from North America and France. The programme will be announced in December.

Topics discussed in previous workshops have included: empirical studies of novice and expert programmers, collaborative software development, graphical notations and environments, teaching and learning programming, errors, debugging, tracers and visualization, mental models, parallelism, programming paradigms, display-based reasoning, software design methodologies, programming environments and support tools, organizational issues, formal reasoning, specification. Still room for more!

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 40 delegates and is not restricted to PPIG members.


Ben du Boulay (Sussex)
Thomas Green (MRC APU)
Helen Pain (Edinburgh) (local organizer)


Meetings will take place in the Dept of Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh. For those who don’t know it, Edinburgh is justifiably renowned for its beautiful buildings, its winding hilly streets, its romantic past, its many tourist shops, its even many-er bars, and of course its contributions to the sciences and the arts. PPIG will be right at home.


1 Nov 94 - papers (extended abstract or full paper)
1 Nov 94 - discussion or panel proposals
1 Nov 94 - demonstrations and posters \

Please include complete contact information and specify A/V requirements.

Submissions to:

Thomas Green
MRC Applied Psychology Unit
15 Chaucer Rd
Cambridge CB2 2EF, U.K. \

Tel: +44 (0) 1223-355294 ext 280
Fax: +44 (0) 1223-359062
E-mail: thomas.green@mrc-apu.cam.ac.uk

Registration and Accommodation:

Accommodation will be in hotels. We hope to obtain preferential rates at one or two local, mid-range hotels; delegates will be responsible for making their own bookings, either at these or elsewhere. Details obtainable on request/registration.

Registration and enquiries to:

Dr Helen Pain
Department of Artificial Intelligence
University of Edinburgh
80 South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH2 1HN

E-mail: helen@aisb.ed.ac.uk
Fax: +44 (0) 131 650-6516

NB: to assist in obtaining preferential rates, please contact Helen Pain.


Call for Participation:

25 - 29 JUNE 1995

Hosted by the Norwegian Computer Society
Deadline for submissions - 1 November 1994
For more details e-mail your name & postal address to: office@i95.no


1 Nov 94 - Submission of papers (original + 5 copies)
1 Jan 95 - Notification of acceptance/rejection of papers & posters
1 Mar 95 - Deadline for receipt of camera-ready copy of revised papers
1 May 95 - Early registration deadline
25-26 Jun 95 - Pre-conference activities - tutorials, workshops, etc.
27-29 Jun 95 - INTERACT'95 Conference \

INTERACT'95 will continue the traditions of previous INTERACT Conferences (London 1984, Stuttgart 1987, Cambridge 1990 and Amsterdam 1993) - traditions which emphasise:

  • The importance of social interactions at the conference;
  • The need to break new ground in conference content, as technology and HCI move forward;
  • The need to offer new forms of conference presentations;
  • A commitment to breadth of participation (international, interdisciplinary and across differing work contexts).

The theme for INTERACT'95 will be Bringing People together and as a part of our commitment to breadth of participation we shall have three strands to the conference content:

  1. Research & Theory - is the strand familiar to us from previous INTERACTs, CHIs and other HCI conferences.
  2. Case Studies, Applications & Practice - is a strand intended to encourage a greater interest in the needs and experiences of industry and commerce.
  3. HCI Education And Training - is a strand for contributions about the nature and needs of HCI education and training.


Ms. Kersti Flamme Larsen,
Norwegian Computer Society,
Daelenggt. 20P,
PO Box 6714 Rodelokka,
N-0503 Oslo, Norway.

Tel: +47-2237-0213
Fax: +47-2235-4669
E-mail: office@i95.no


5 - 7 JANUARY 1996

ESP 6 will take place in Alexandria, Virginia, USA (bordering on Washington DC) on January 5th - 7th 1996. This will not clash with that year’s PPIG workshop.

ESP is committed to:

  • the encouragement of empirical studies across the whole range of activities concerned with software production and use;
  • the involvement of, and interaction between, researchers and practitioners in both academia and industry;
  • an inter-disciplinary approach, involving psychologists, cognitive scientists, software engineers and computer scientists inter alia;
  • bringing together the global community of people interested in these issues.

Papers, panel proposals, and posters may be submitted. Papers are refereed by three members of the program committee. Those selected will be published as an edited volume in Ablex’ Empirical Studies of Programmers series.

The dates for your diary are:

23 May 95 - Panel proposals and paper submissions
21 Jul 95 - Revised papers due.
5-7 Jan 96 - Conference.

ESP6 will be held in “Old Town” Alexandria, Virginia. The Workshop hotel will provide free shuttle service to and from Washington National Airport (about a 15 minute ride) as well as to the Alexandria Metro stop (about 15 minutes to the Capitol & Museum area of DC).

For further information, contact:

Wayne D. Gray, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology & Fellow
of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study
George Mason University
m/s 3f5
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444

E-mail: gray@mason1.gmu.edu
Tel: +1 (703) 993-1344
Fax: +1 (703) 993-1359

Conference Report

The East-West International Conference Information Technology in Design (EWITD'94)

The East-West International Conference Information Technology in Design (EWITD'94) was organized by George Rzevski and Anthony Lucas-Smith at The Open University, UK and Alexander Sorokin and Sergei Orekhov at the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI), Moscow, Russia. The conference took place 5-9 September 1994 in Moscow and featured approximately 75 talks. Fifty percent of the talks were presented by Russians, with the remainder presented by researchers and practitioners from countries such as the UK, Holland, Scandinavia, Germany, Japan, and the USA.

The Russian presentations primarily focused on mathematical models and algorithms developed to solve computational problems in engineering design, such as using genetic algorithms to solve scheduling and allocation problems in computer-aided design (CAD) hardware. In comparison, talks from the West primarily focused on organizational, cognitive, and social issues in engineering design. Interesting papers included Informing multimedia - a sensitive interface to data for design professionals by J.A. Powell, Computer integrated support for embodiment design of mechatronic products by X.T. Yan, et al., and Analysis in the conceptual stage of design by C. Kruger.

I presented a paper titled Supporting knowledge exploration during the design process which discusses how design team members explore and integrate knowledge from different domains during the design process and how information technology could support this process. All conference papers are available in the two volume conference proceedings published by the ICSTI, 21-b Kuusinen St., 125252, Moscow, Russia.

Interacting with several Russian participants through the use of interpreters, I learned that Russian researchers have traditionally been rewarded for their ability to produce mathematical theories and algorithms. Researchers and engineers often work in isolation to restrict information exchange and increase security.

This conference represented a first attempt to begin to bridge gaps between east and west design research and practice. To further this effort at the close of the conference Russian authorities pledged support to East-West collaborations; if there is funding from the West to support western researchers, funding to support Russian researchers will also be made available by Russian funding committees. A second EWITD conference is being planned for 1996.

Diane H. Sonnenwald
Risoe National Laboratory
DK-4000 Roskilde

Tel: +45 46 77 51 39
E-mail: dhs@risoe.dk

Research Notes

Jared Freeman

Jared Freeman completed his doctorate study in cognitive psychology at Columbia University in 1993 with a dissertation concerning programming psychology. He has since focused on human decision making as a scientist at Cognitive Technologies, Inc., in Arlington, Virginia (USA). The firm performs research concerning decision making in high-stress, high stakes environments including commercial aviation and military command. What follows is the abstract of Dr. Freeman’s dissertation, which is currently in preparation for publication.

Judith Segal

Judith Segal is investigating the effects of context on learning about the algebraic specification of abstract data types.

Judith Good

Judith Good is planning to start running some experiments on the use of multiple visual program abstractions in helping novices overcome impasses during programming (with simple recursive programs).

Nick Flor

Nick Flor is now Assistant Professor of Information Science (in Carnegie Mellon’s Graduate School of Industrial Administration). His research interests are teamwork, technology, and thinking (distributed).

Dr. Arthur V. Lopes

Rua Inhandui 303, Ap. 204
90.820-170 Porto Alegre - RS

My current work focuses on the development of an environment for novice Ada 9X programmers which extends the ideas exposed in my dissertation Very High-Level Debugging: Evaluation of Diagnosis and Solutions for Ada Concurrent Programs. Part of this work is available by anonymous ftp at [wuarchive.wustl.edu:/languages/ada/avlada9x].

The full work will contain: multi-full screen editor, syntax templates, compiler/interpreter, hypertext help with automatic indexing of errors into possible explanations, monitor for concurrent programs, and an expert system for assisting the programming development process.


The Organization and Character of Programmers’ Knowledge Concerning Software Bugs
Jared Freeman

Is It Easier To Write Matrix Manipulation Programs Visually Or Textually? An Empirical Study
Rajeev K. Pandey & Margaret M. Burnett (1993)

The contributions of studying examples and solving problems to skill acquisition
Trafton, J. G., & Reiser, B. J. (1993)

Scaffolding effective problem solving strategies in interactive learning environments
Merrill, D. C., & Reiser, B. J. (1994)

Reasoning-congruent learning environments: Scaffolding learning by doing in new domains
Merrill, D. C., & Reiser, B. J. (1994)

Tutoring: Guided learning by doing. Cognition and Instruction
Merrill, D. C., Reiser, B. J., Merrill, S. K., & Landes, S. (1994)

Cognitive and motivational consequences of tutoring and discovery learning
Reiser, B. J., Copen, W. A., Ranney, M., Hamid, A., & Kimberg, D. Y. (1994)