Visualization as an aid for understanding distributed algorithms
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Visualization, the graphical representation of data by computer, is believed to be an aid to cognitive processes. Algorithm animation, a type of visualization that displays a dynamic visual representation of the state and behavior of algorithms, is aimed to help students learn and understand complex algorithms better and more easily. Previous evaluations of algorithm animations have been performed. However, the results of these studies were mixed and often inconclusive. The visualization community has called for further studies to answer the question of whether algorithm animation is beneficial. This thesis presents such a study. Three-dimensional graphics were used to implement algorithm animations for distributed algorithms. Two studies were conducted to evaluate whether these visualizations helped students to learn about the distributed algorithms.