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.

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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
ISSN: 2192-6247
Projects: ExplorViz
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 13:26
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2015 13:26

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