Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches de l'Université Paul Sabatier

"Contributions to the Science of Controlled Transformations"

Stéphane Conversy




My research activities pertain to so-called “Computer Science” and in particular “Interactive Graphics” i.e. dynamic graphics on a 2D screen that a user can interact with by means of input devices such as a mouse or a multitouch surface. I have conducted research on Interactive Graphics along three themes: interactive graphics development (how should developers design the architecture of the code corresponding to graphical interactions?), interactive graphics design (what graphical interactions should UX specialists use in their system?) and interactive graphics design process (how should User Experience (UX) specialists design? What process should they apply?)

I invented the MDPC architecture that relies on Picking views and Inverse transforms. This improves the modularity of programs [CBNP07] and improves the usability of the specification and the implementation of interactive graphics [Con11] thanks to the simplification of description. In order to improve the performance of rich-graphic software using this architecture, I explored the concepts of graphical compilers and led a PhD thesis on the topic [Tis11]. The thesis explored the approach and contributed both in terms of description simplification [TC08] and of software engineering facilitation [TC11]. Finally, I have applied the simplification of description principles to the problem of shape covering avoidance by relying on new efficient hardware support for parallelized and memory-based algorithms [Tis11].

Together with my colleagues, we have explored the design and assessment of expanding targets [ZCBLG03], animation and sound [SCC+07], interaction with numerous tangled trajectories [HTC09], multi-user interaction [CGBC+11] and tangible interaction [CLL+12, LHL+13]. I have identified and defined Structural Interaction, a new interaction paradigm that follows the steps of the direct [Shn83] and instrumental [BL00] interaction paradigms. I directed a PhD thesis on this topic (unfinished at the time of writing), and together with my student we designed and assessed interaction techniques for structural interaction [HC12].

I was involved in the design of the “Technology Probes” concept [HMW+03] i.e. runnable prototypes to feed the design process. Together with colleagues, I designed VideoProbe, one such Technology Probe [HMW+03, CRH+03, CMBLR05]. I became interested in more conceptual tools targeted at graphical representation. I led two PhD theses on the topic [Tab10, Hur10]. I explored the characterization of visualization [HC08], how to design representations with visual variables [TCVA08, TACV09] or ecological perception [HCJV09] and how to design visual interfaces to improve visual scanning [CHC10, CCH11]. I discovered that those conceptual tools could be applied to programming languages and showed how the representation of code, be it textual or “visual” undergoes visual perception phenomena.

This has led me to consider our discipline as the “Science of Controlled Transformations”. The fifth chapter is an attempt at providing this new account of “Informatique” based on what users, programmers and researchers actually do with interactive systems. I also describe how my work can be considered as contributing to the science of controlled transformations.

stephane .dot. conversy.at. enac .dot. fr