What do constraint programming users want to see?: Exploring the role of visualisation in profiling of models and search

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Constraint programming allows difficult combinatorial problems to be modelled declaratively and solved automatically. Advances in solver technologies over recent years have allowed the successful use of constraint programming in many application areas. However, when a particular solver's search for a solution takes too long, the complexity of the constraint program execution hinders the programmer's ability to profile that search and understand how it relates to their model. Therefore, effective tools to support such profiling and allow users of constraint programming technologies to refine their model or experiment with different search parameters are essential. This paper details the first user-centred design process for visual profiling tools in this domain. We report on: our insights and opportunities identified through an on-line questionnaire and a creativity workshop with domain experts carried out to elicit requirements for analytical and visual profiling techniques; our designs and functional prototypes realising such techniques; and case studies demonstrating how these techniques shed light on the behaviour of the solvers in practice.
LanguageEnglish
Article number7536109
Pages281-290
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Visual analytics
  • User-centred design
  • Profiling
  • Constraint programming
  • Tree visualisations

Cite this

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title = "What do constraint programming users want to see?: Exploring the role of visualisation in profiling of models and search",
abstract = "Constraint programming allows difficult combinatorial problems to be modelled declaratively and solved automatically. Advances in solver technologies over recent years have allowed the successful use of constraint programming in many application areas. However, when a particular solver's search for a solution takes too long, the complexity of the constraint program execution hinders the programmer's ability to profile that search and understand how it relates to their model. Therefore, effective tools to support such profiling and allow users of constraint programming technologies to refine their model or experiment with different search parameters are essential. This paper details the first user-centred design process for visual profiling tools in this domain. We report on: our insights and opportunities identified through an on-line questionnaire and a creativity workshop with domain experts carried out to elicit requirements for analytical and visual profiling techniques; our designs and functional prototypes realising such techniques; and case studies demonstrating how these techniques shed light on the behaviour of the solvers in practice.",
keywords = "Visual analytics, User-centred design, Profiling, Constraint programming, Tree visualisations",
author = "Sarah Goodwin and Christopher Mears and Tim Dwyer and {Garcia de la Banda}, Maria and Guido Tack and Mark Wallace",
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