Kampschmidt, Matthew Fall 20091
Paradigm: An Extensible Framework for Next Generation Information Display


The explosive growth of information availability since the advent of the Internet has created a unique problem: There is so much information available; it is hard to find important data. The average Internet user, for example, may have multiple email accounts, instant messengers, address books, calendars, and digital photo collections among other items. An example of the problem this presents can be expressed in a simple workflow: In order to find a photo of a friend of a friend, a user may need to visit the first friends Facebook profile, sort through the friend list until they found the second friend name and icon, then search for that name in an account, where they will find a link to a Flickr photo. This sounds simple enough, but when repeated many times over a lifetime becomes a significant time sink.

The Paradigm application and framework seeks to address this problem using a 3D relational flocking visualizer. This means a system which draws objects in a 3D environment and animates them to "flock" together or float separately based on how related they are. There are two sides to this project: an end-user facing application and a developer friendly framework. The developer framework supplies a set of instructions and example code as well as an application programming interface (API) to develop new visualization methods and data sources. The end-user facing application allows a user to select a variety of data sources (such as an address book or photo sharing website account) and import that data to be visualized, each using plug-ins created by the developer community. Because it is written in the cross-platform and open source Adobe Flex framework, Paradigm can be run and developed for on all current major platforms.


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