The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Facilitating Algorithm Visualization Creation and Adoption in Education

Ville Karavirta

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium AS1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 14th of December, 2009, at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-248-170-2)   [2200 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-248-169-6)


The research question of this thesis is: How can we develop algorithm animations (AA) and AA systems further to better facilitate the creation and adoption of AA in education?

The motivation for tackling this issue is that algorithm animation has not been widely used in teaching computer science. One of the main reasons for not taking full advantage of AA in teaching is the lack of time on behalf of the instructors. Furthermore, there is a shortage of ready-made, good quality algorithm visualizations.

The main contributions are as follows:

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 7 publications:

  1. Petri Ihantola, Ville Karavirta, Ari Korhonen, and Jussi Nikander. 2005. Taxonomy of effortless creation of algorithm visualizations. In: Proceedings of the First International Computing Education Research Workshop (ICER 2005). Seattle, WA, USA. 1-2 October 2005. New York, NY, USA. ACM. Pages 123-133. ISBN 1-59593-043-4.
  2. Ville Karavirta, Ari Korhonen, Lauri Malmi, and Kimmo Stålnacke. 2004. MatrixPro – A tool for on-the-fly demonstration of data structures and algorithms. In: Ari Korhonen (editor). Proceedings of the Third Program Visualization Workshop (PVW 2004). University of Warwick, Coventry, UK. 1-2 July 2004. Coventry, UK. University of Warwick, Department of Computer Science. Research Report CS-RR-407. Pages 26-33. ISBN 0-902683-74-8. © 2004 by authors.
  3. Ville Karavirta, Ari Korhonen, Lauri Malmi, and Thomas Naps. 2010. A comprehensive taxonomy of algorithm animation languages. Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, volume 21, number 1, pages 1-22.
  4. Thomas Naps, Guido Rößling, Peter Brusilovsky, John English, Duane Jarc, Ville Karavirta, Charles Leska, Myles McNally, Andrés Moreno, Rockford J. Ross, and Jaime Urquiza-Fuentes. 2005. Development of XML-based tools to support user interaction with algorithm visualization. SIGCSE Bulletin, volume 37, number 4, pages 123-138. © 2005 by authors.
  5. Ville Karavirta. 2007. Integrating algorithm visualization systems. In: Guido Rößling (editor). Proceedings of the Fourth Program Visualization Workshop (PVW 2006). Florence, Italy. 29-30 June 2006. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Elsevier Science. Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science, volume 178, pages 79-87.
  6. Ville Karavirta. 2009. Seamless merging of hypertext and algorithm animation. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, volume 9, number 2, article 10, pages 1-17.
  7. Ville Karavirta, Guido Rößling, and Otto Seppälä. 2009. Automatic generation of algorithm visualizations for lectures. Espoo, Finland: Helsinki University of Technology. 11 pages. TKK Research Reports in Computer Science and Engineering B, Report 7 (TKK-CSE-B7). ISBN 978-952-60-3251-1. ISSN 1797-6944. © 2009 by authors.

Keywords: algorithm animation, effortlessness, algorithm animation language, XAAL

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© 2009 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-08-05