Carnegie Mellon University
September 25, 2012

News Brief: HCII Paper of 2002 Named "Most Influential"

HandsThe IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing has recognized a 2002 paper on usable programming systems co-authored by Brad A. Myers, professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and two of his students, as the joint winner of the Most Influential Paper of one decade ago.

The paper describes the Computer Science Department Ph.D. thesis work of John Pane, who is now a senior scientist at RAND Corp. in Pittsburgh where he studies the use of technology in education. The other co-author, Leah (Miller) O'Brien, was an undergraduate computer science major who now works in pharmaceutical IT.

The widely cited article, "Using HCI techniques to design a more usable programming system," focuses on the process used to develop a programming system for children. Basing their work on studies of the way people think about solving problems, they were able to design a language and system that was easier to learn. Since then, many people have incorporated some of the novel features into their own languages and systems or have applied the technique of figuring out how people think about problems in other domains.

Sharing the Most Influential Paper award is an article from David Harel and his colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science regarding the use of the statecharts visual programming language. The awards will be presented at the VL/HCC Symposium in Innsbruck, Austria, Sept. 30-Oct. 4. The symposium is the premier international forum for research on how computation can be made easier to express, manipulate and understand.

Pictured above is a screengrab from the easy-to-learn programming system that was the subject of the paper.