16.9. Visual data flow programming languages: challenges and opportunities


Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of computer science

Doctoral candidate: M.Sc. Maija Marttila-Kontio 

Date and venue: 16.9.2011, 13.00, L22, Snellmania, Kuopio



The study by Maija Marttila-Kontio (Department of Computer Science, UEF) introduces the challenges and opportunities that visual data flow programming language (VDFL) presents to the field of software development. 

Some of the commonly recognized advantages of VDFL are comprehensible program code representation and parallel program execution. Despite of these advantages, VDFL has not enjoyed great popularity except for measurement and control system implementations.One of the reasons for this is related to VDFL's restricted applicability for large-scale applications. 

In order to enhance VDFL's applicability, it is necessary to first identify the language's restrictions and challenges which may have been hidden behind questionable development methods that can hinder VDFL's advantages, for example, by hiding the parallel program execution. Recent research into the restrictions and challenges of VDFL has remained minimal. 

In connection with this issue, this study presents the challenges and opportunities that are discoverable in practice. The results of the study have been derived mostly from the implementation of an automated documentation system (ADS), the versions of which were implemented by avoiding the use of “quick-and-dirty” methods that can break the data flow paradigm. 

The study confirms the existing research results regarding the advantages of VDFL. It also reveals a set of challenges to the use of VDFL, which include the lack of run-time program variability, monolithic program structures, and the lack of advanced design methods. The study also raises the question of end-to-end system verification.

The study suggests new theoretical solutions for discovered challenges; these include: dynamic case structure, event switch, and dynamic computational node. The use of formal methods has been proposed for the system verification. 

The doctoral dissertation of Maija Marttila-Kontio entitled “Visual data flow programming languages: challenges and opportunities” will be examined at the Faculty of Science and Forestry. The opponent in the public examination is Professor Jyrki Nummenmaa, from the University of Tampere and the custos is Professor Matti Nykänen of the University of Eastern Finland.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/vaitoskuvat

Contact: Maija Marttila-Kontio, maija.marttila@uef.fi, tel. + 358 400 619 536

Publishing year: 2011

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