Research Perspective on Supporting Software Engineering via Physical 3D Models.

Fittkau, Florian, Koppenhagen, Erik and Hasselbring, Wilhelm (2015) Research Perspective on Supporting Software Engineering via Physical 3D Models. . Technical Reports by Department of Computer Science, 1507 . Department of Computer Science, Kiel University, Germany, 29 pp.

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Building architects, but also civil or mechanical engineers often build from their designs physical3D models for a better presentation, comprehension, and communication among stakeholders. Software engineers usually create visualizations of their software designs as digital objects to be presented on a screen only. 3D software visualization metaphors, such as the software city metaphor, provide a basis for exporting those on-screen software visualizations into physical models. This can be achieved by 3D-printers to transfer the advantages of real, physical, tangible architecture models from traditional engineering disciplines to software engineering.

We present a new research perspective of using physical models to support software engineering. Furthermore, we describe four envisioned usage scenarios for physical models which provide a plethora of new research topics. As proof of concept, we investigate the first usage scenario by evaluating the impact of using physical models on program comprehension in teams through a first controlled experiment.

Our experiment reveals that the usage of physical models has a diverging influence. However, they improve the team-based program comprehension process for specific tasks by initiating gesture-based interaction. Therefore, the experiment shows that physical models can provide a promising future research direction.

Document Type: Report (Research Report)
Keywords: physical software models, research perspective, program comprehension
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Software Engineering
Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 2192-6247
Projects: ExplorViz
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 13:26
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2015 13:26

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