Charla: Making ALMA's Operations Monitoring & Control Graphical User Interfaces Scalable
The WIMP (window, icon, menu, pointing) graphical user interface paradigm developed in the seventies has been prevalent for several decades, with most industrial user interface toolkits adopting this style of interface design. The paradigm is ubiquitous, being used in most software that feature a graphical user interface, ranging from mainstream office applications and drawing programs to critical systems such as control room displays. Yet, this paradigm has not evolved much since the seventies, and is not suited to applications that rely on advanced computer graphics for, e.g., scientific visualization or geographical information systems. It is also ill-suited to handling state-of-the-art input modalities that go beyond mouse and keyboard, such as gesture-based interfaces, real-time motion capture, touch-sensitive surfaces or cluster-based wall-sized displays, to give only a few examples.
In this talk, I will first give a tour of state-of-the-art post-WIMP interfaces and interaction techniques, that support tasks ranging from advanced desktop window management to the visualization of large-scale scientific datasets on ultra-high-resolution wall-sized displays. I will then show how some of these results are currently being applied to the re-design of the ALMA radio-telescope's  operations monitoring and control user interfaces, as part of a joint effort between the ALMA partners and INRIA . ALMA is the largest astronomical project in existence and its design poses numerous research and engineering challenges, including the design of visualization components that actually scale to the complexity of the system and enable both operators and astronomers to cope with the vast amount of data that will be sent to them continuously.
Emmanuel Pietriga is a research scientist at INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique) in France. His research focuses on interaction and visualization techniques for large datasets, including multi-scale user interfaces, large network visualizations, and ultra-high-resolution wall-sized displays. He is currently interim leader of INRIA team In Situ. Previously, he worked for Xerox Research Centre Europe and did his postdoctoral research at MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Cambridge, USA. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, France. http://www.lri.fr/~pietriga