Most influential paper award

Life can throw up surprises, some nasty some rather pleasant. Well this week I received an email which was a pleasant surprise. A paper I co-wrote ten years ago, when I was a researcher before joining Microsoft, just received an award from the VL/HCC conference series: Most Influential Paper from approximately one decade ago. See

I’m immensely proud to find that work I contributed to has been judged to have had such an impact by research colleagues. And, having been out of research and working on product for the last five years, this came as a real surprise. I had no idea.

And the paper? It’s about formalizing a subset of a graphical notations based on Venn diagrams for visualizing navigation paths, constraints and object structures in OO systems. The paper describing the full notation appeared in the 1997 OOPSLA conference and is called Constraint Diagrams: Visualizing Invariants in Object Oriented Modelling. You can get a copy from

Perhaps one day we’ll see these kinds of notations appearing in Microsoft’s tools…