Project Description

Algorithms and Data Structures are an essential part of Computer Science. Students and programmers have to understand their basic behaviour to be able to incorporate them into their programs. Educators need to know how this content can be presented so that learners will find it easier to understand.

The central problem in understanding algorithms and data structures is that they are highly dynamic, while their usual mode of presentation (e.g., screen shots, diagrams, or source code) is mostly static. However, it is precisely the small effects of the dynamics that cause many misconceptions or incorrect results.

Example Animal animation, here: LZW Decompression

Animal is one of several systems that addresses this gap of understanding by visualizing the dynamic behaviour of algorithms and data structures.

Animal offers:

  • Three modes of content generation (based on a GUI, scriptinglanguage, or an API) enable almost any user to create content;
  • The system is fully prepared for Internationalization, and currently supports German and English;
  • All transformations can be precisely times regarding both offsetand duration;
  • All transformations are fully reversible – the animation can be run in both directions;
  • Animal's structure makes it an almost ideal test-bed for new research directions.


Project Leader:

  • Dr. Guido Rößling


  • Sandro Hardy
  • Stephan Mehlhase
  • Jens Pfau

Project Partners

  • Prof. Thomas L. Naps, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, WI, USA
  • Prof. Scott Grissom, Grand Valley University, USA
  • Prof. Myles McNally, Alma College, MI, USA


  • Development Grant “E-Learning Hessen”:11/2004 – 11/2005, State of Hesse, Germany
  • Development Grant “E-Learning in Siegen”:7/1999 – 7/2000, University of Siegen, Germany


If you are interested in this project, please contact the project leader Dr. Guido Rößling.