Guest Blog: NPUC and “The Future of Design and Software Development”

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The New Paradigms in Using Computers (or NPUC) workshop at IBM’s Almaden Research Center is an annual exploration of new cutting edge user experiences for computing devices. It brings together speakers and attendees from academia and industry for a single day of presentations and informal discussions focused on a single topic. This year NPUC will take place on July 9 and focus on “The Future of Design and Software Development.”
Software development and design has evolved from an arcane art practiced with exotic, obscure tools into a multi-billion dollar industry based on exotic, obscure tools. With all of the advances that we have made in user interface technology and design processes in general, we should be able to create a better user experience for design and development in particular. At NPUC 2009, innovators from both academia and industry who are working to make the design and software development process more natural, accessible, and social will present their work:
  • Brad Myers from Carnegie Mellon University will discuss “More Natural User Experiences for Design and Software Development” that empower end users, who are largely not trained programmers, to create and refine their own programs. He will give an overview of past and current research on “End User Programming” and “End User Software Engineering”.
  • Ethan Eismann of Adobe Systems will describe Adobe’s work on “Making Programming Playful”. The goal of playful programming is to transform programming from a task that is complex and often frustrating to one that is playful, constructive, and productive for a wide range of users.
  • Gina Venolia of Microsoft Research will present “Five attempts at Spatializing Code”. As programs have gotten more complex, tracking and understanding a large code base has become increasingly difficult. Gina will describe explorations into how to leverage people’s innate spatial abilities to benefit software developers.
  • Caitlin Kelleher of Washington University in St. Louis will describe how we might take middle-school students through the “Looking Glass” by “Supporting Learning from Peer Programs”. She will discuss her research into providing tools that both motivate and support middle-school students learning to program as an approach to address the widening gap between the demand for computer scientists and the enrollment in computer science college majors.
  • Kimberley Peter of IBM will present “Making Jazz: Collaboration, Community and Design in Open Commercial Software Development”. Jazz is simultaneously a reflection of the fact that software development is now a collaborative process and a product of it; Kimberley will describe both the motivation and design for Jazz and how the open community shaped its development.
  • Rastislav Bodik of UC Berkeley will propose that we can improve the productivity of programmers by “Synthesizing Programs from Programmer Insight”. He will describe research into how to allow programmers to focus on providing the high-level design and insights and allow their tools to figure out the necessary mechanics that implement those insights.
Part of the fun of NPUC is that it attracts world-renowned researchers, passionate people new to the field, and everyone in between. And NPUC doesn’t just provide a forum to listen to great talks and engage other attendees in informal conversations; if you have an idea or a demonstration you’re eager to share you can submit a proposal to present a poster or a demo of your own work at NPUC. To find out how to attend or how to submit a poster or demo proposal, visit the NPUC ’09 home page:
Jeff Pierce & John Barton
NPUC ’09 Co-Chairs

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