Towards a computational model of sketching

Kenneth D Forbus*, R. W. Ferguson, J. M. Usher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

66 Scopus citations


Sketching is a powerful means of interpersonal communication. While many useful multimodal systems have been created, current systems are far from achieving human-like participation in sketching. A computational model of sketching would help characterize these differences and help us better understand how to overcome them. This paper is a first step towards such a model. We start with an example of a sketching system (nuSketch COA Creator) designed to aid military planners, to provide context and a source of examples. We then describe four dimensions of sketching, visual understanding, conceptual understanding, language understanding, and drawing, that can be used to characterize the competence of existing systems and identify open problems. The issues involved will be illustrated by examples from our experience with nuSketch. Three research challenges are posed, to serve as milestones towards a computational model of sketching that can explain and replicate human abilities in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Proceedings IUI
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Event2001 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2001) - Santa Fe, NM, United States
Duration: Jan 14 2001Jan 17 2001


Other2001 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2001)
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Fe, NM


  • Intelligent front-ends to knowledge-based systems
  • Multimodal interfaces
  • Sketching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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