Browse Prior Art Database

Graphical Network Analyzer

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000106791D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-21
Document File: 8 page(s) / 373K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Beale, KA: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Disclosed is a Graphical Network Analyzer (GNA) in the form of a program and API that allows a network to be defined graphically, procedurally, and mathematically in a user-friendly manner that enables personnel with limited programming skill to conduct network analysis. Included is a separate program related to a part of the Graphical Network Analyzer called the Information Activity Manager (IAM). The IAM allows personnel with limited programming skill to easily define processes including tools and data through manipulation of graphical icons and windows.

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Graphical Network Analyzer

      Disclosed is a Graphical Network Analyzer (GNA) in the form of
a program and API that allows a network to be defined graphically,
procedurally, and mathematically in a user-friendly manner that
enables personnel with limited programming skill to conduct network
analysis.  Included is a separate program related to a part of the
Graphical Network Analyzer called the Information Activity Manager
(IAM).  The IAM allows personnel with limited programming skill to
easily define processes including tools and data through manipulation
of graphical icons and windows.

      There is a class of analytical activities associated with
networks that are represented by a network of connected activities
interactively executed in a sequence, where information flows from
activity to activity.  Problems associated with specific applications
are two-fold.  First, there are often common underlying network
structures between applications, e.g., a specific production process
capacity planning and quality modelling networks are the same, but
the analysis performed at each node is different.  Secondly, there
needs to be a common 'look and feel' to all of the related
applications.  A need exists to provide an API and program that is
better customisable and productive for speedy development, whilst
providing ease of use to a non expert user.  The GNA provides an
easy-to-use method to build and run a network for analysis, and
provide an easy-to-program API to customise the GNA for differing
network analysis needs.

      The graphical user interface (GUI) (Fig. 1-1) allows an
engineer to easily describe a flow diagram on the display device
using the input device.  The customisable object classes (Fig. 1-2)
are used by the GUI to represent the object class both graphically on
the display and textually on the icon bar.  The object class's
graphical depiction can be either a drawing (2D and 3D) or a bitmap.
Different classes could be depicted by a mixture of drawings and
bitmaps.  The GUI allows the user to quickly connect the objects, and
based on this connection information the Network Analyzer Engine
(Fig. 1-3) builds a complex software equivalent which can then be run
immediately after the build of the network to perform an analysis.
The network can be viewed in 2D or 3D (with and without perspective).
Each object within the network can be individually selected to
provide information about a facet of the node - its initial values,
current and cumulative values, rules description, function
description, predecessors and successors, etc.  This information can
be presented via a window (dialog box) customised for its specific
object class.  Full editing capability is provided for the network,
and the objects.  The network models built may be saved and restored.
The functions and rules (customised as required, by the application
developer) are used by the Analyzer via an API.

      Referring to Fig. 2, the netw...