Optika: A GUI Framework for Parameterized Applications

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Computer Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Michael Heroux, Computer Science


In the field of scientific computing there are many specialized programs designed for specific applications in areas such as biology, chemistry, and physics. These applications are often very powerful and extraordinarily useful in their respective domains. However, some suffer from a common problem: a non-intuitive, poorly-designed user interface. The purpose of Optika is to address this problem and provide a simple, viable solution. Using only a list of parameters passed to it, Optika can dynamically gen- erate a GUI. This allows the user to specify parameters' values in a fashion that is much more intuitive than the traditional "input decks" used by some parameterized scientific applications. By leveraging the power of Optika, these scientific applications will become more accessible and thus allow their designers to reach a much wider audience while requiring minimal extra development effort.