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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