When teaching concurrency, using a process-oriented language, it is often introduced through a visual representation of programs in the form of process network diagrams. These diagrams allow the design of and abstract reasoning about programs, consisting of concurrently executing communicating processes, without needing any syntactic knowledge of the eventual implementation language. Process network diagrams are usually drawn on paper or with general-purpose diagramming software, meaning the program must be implemented as syntactically correct program code before it can be run. This paper presents POPed, an introductory parallel programming tool leveraging process network diagrams as a visual language for the creation of process-oriented programs. Using only visual layout and connection of pre-created components, the user can explore process orientation without knowledge of the underlying programming language, enabling a “processes first” approach to parallel programming. POPed has been targeted specifically at basic robotic control, to provide a context in which introductory parallel programming can be naturally motivated.
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