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Algorithm Visualization - Book Report/Review Example

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Algorithm Visualization

This interest in the field can be attributed to a perception that algorithm visualizations can provide a powerful alternative to static written presentations (from textbooks) or verbal descriptions supported by illustrations (from lectures). Perhaps the authors expected that the interest in the subject have generated a wealth of literature and a good number of animated algorithms.
The study can also be said to be animated by the contradiction in studies that are concerned with evaluating the pedagogical usefulness of animated algorithm. Some studies have shown that there is no significant difference between traditional and animated approach while some studies have shown that algorithm visualizations can indeed improve understanding of the fundamental data structures and algorithms. The goal of the study was not to determine which of them are correct but is essentially an investigation of the status of algorithm animation in the contemporary and past setting.
The ideas mentioned in the previous paragraph indicates that there was an effort to test whether the field of algorithm visualization has improved and ascertain to what degree it has benefitted from the dearth of literature it has generated. For this particular study, there was an effort to present a picture of what has been done and what is currently going on in the field of algorithm animation.

4.0 Contribution to theory
With regards to the contribution of the study to the notion to the idea of improving the field of algorithm visualization, the researchers provide a good overview of the health status of the field which can serve as a jump off point for future developments. The study was able to find that most existing algorithm visualizations are of low quality and that the content coverage covers mostly easier topics. Effective repositories or organized collection are not readily available. The authors found that the field appears in need of improvement in dissemination of materials, informing potential developers about what is needed, and propagating known best practices for creating new visualizations. (line 11-18 of p. 150)

5.0 Paradigm
The researchers join in the shift of paradigm from traditional teaching to animated algorithms though not in a direct manner. Instead of an experiment that aimed at establishing that there are significant gains in using animated visualizations, the study offered facts that could help precipitate further interest in the field. Examples of facts include the revelation that relatively few of algorithm animation are pedagogically useful and that the majority of the visualizations cannot be made to work easily. It was also found that only half of the animated visualizations are actually animated and that most of it does not offer the subjects pace control. (line 17-29, p. 152)

6.0 Research Methods adopted
With regards to the research method used, the study employed the survey type as it conducted such an activity to determine 'what's out there' (line 1, p. 151) with regards to animated visualizations. In the search for 'what's out there', the researchers made use of a number of search techniques such as listing all ...Show more


Shaffer, Cooper and Edwards (2007) embarked on a journey to ascertain the state of the field of algorithm visualization. Their study was concerned with seeking answers to questions such as how content is distributed among topics, who created algorithm visualizations and when, the overall quality of available visualizations, and how visualizations are disseminated…
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