Qualitative Reasoning Group

Northwestern University


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People sketch to work through ideas and to communicate, especially when dealing with spatial matters. Software that could participate in sketching could revolutionize spatial education and provide a new kind of instrument for cognitive science research, and also be be an important scientific advance in its own right. Our goal is to do the research and development needed to create a sketch understanding system that can be used as an instrument for cognitive science research and as a platform for educational software. This system, called CogSketch, will be one of the products of the Center. Our vision is that, in ten years or less, sketch-based educational software can be as widely available to students as graphing calculators are today. To achieve this vision will require tight collaboration between the AI researchers on the CogSketch development team and psychologists, learning scientists, and educators.

Main Project Page: http://www.silccenter.org/.../tool-sketching

Read This First:

System Requirements:

Want to help scientists help you?
Researchers at the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC) are gathering a corpus of sketches using CogSketch. CogSketch is the sketch understanding software that we are creating, which is available for free from our web site. It has two purposes. First, we are using it to explore how people reason and learn. Second, we are exploring how to incorporate sketching into education, to improve student learning. By gathering people's sketches, scientists will be able to do analyses that will help them with both of these missions. If you want to participate, all you have to do is download CogSketch, and indicate your acceptance when you install the software. (If you change your mind, there is a "Phone Home" setting in the software preferences.)

CogSketch, version 4.04

Installer for version 4.04 (MS Windows) (645 MB) [11/17/2017]

The above link will take you to the form required to download the installers for the latest version of CogSketch

Individual Downloads

User Manual (3.0 MB) [11/17/2017]

The User Manual is included in the installer above — this link is just for those who would like to look at the manual without installing CogSketch.

Spatial Reasoning Manual (0.6 MB) [2/11/2016]

This document is included in the installer above — the link is just for those who would like to look at the manual without installing CogSketch.

Knowledge-Base for v4.04 (574 MB) [11/17/2017]

The knowledge-base is also included in the installer above so you do not need to download this separately. This is for those who want to restore their knowledge-base to its original state. Download this file, unzip it, and choose "Restore Knowledge-Base" from CogSketch' FIRE menu.


Recent Presentations

Revision History

New in v 4.04 (released 11/17/2017)

  • CogSketch now works with the recent Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Touch pan and pinch-to-zoom works again, and pens once again draw ink rather than panning the window.
  • When using one of the drawing tools, you can now use a pen's barrel button or a mouse right button to draw a glyph selection lasso.
  • The Surface pen eraser can now be used to erase ink when using CogSketch's drawing tools.
  • Double-tap with touch, reverts the drawing pane's zoom to 1:1 and centers the view on the current subsketch.

New in v 4.03 (released 10/10/2017)

  • The CogSketch installer will now also install the correct version of the Microsoft Visual C++ redistributable library if needed (v14.0). Starting CogSketch on older comptuers that lacked this would cause the following error "The program can't start because VCRUNTIME140.dll is missing from your computer".

New in v 4.02 (released 10/5/2017)

  • Fixed a bug that could cause the CogSketch tutor to fail to give advice when using collections defined for a worksheet using the "Define new collection" button in the worksheet authoring environment.

See the Complete Revision History for earlier changes.

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