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Understanding and analyzing the execution of parallel and distributed systems is both important and challenging. Researchers have developed visualization tools to support users in confronting this challenge. However, experience shows that these tools can mislead as well as inform the viewer. This article discusses ways that visualization systems can hinder the viewer's comprehension of a program's execution. It then presents three characteristics that visualizations of concurrent systems should exhibit to promote an understanding of concurrent computations. The authors reveal how visualizations with reorderable, synchronous, and independent displays support an accurate representation of concurrent computations. They also describe the implementation of these essential characteristics with their own visualization tool environment, called Parade.

E. Kraemer and J. T. Stasko, "Creating an Accurate Portrayal of Concurrent Executions," in IEEE Concurrency (out of print), vol. 6, no. , pp. 36-46, 1998.
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