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 4.18

Installer for version 4.18 (MS Windows) (670 MB) [1/11/2024]

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

Individual Downloads

User Manual (2.8 MB) [1/11/2024]

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 v4.18 (644 MB) [1/11/2024]

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 4.18 (released 1/11/2024)

  • Updated knowledge base.

New in v 4.17 (released internally 10/30/2023)

  • Can now compute Medial Axis Transforms and Shock Graphs from the UI (when Experimenter or Developer mode is enabled).
  • Worksheet authors can now choose to put a limit on the number of times a student can request tutor feedback.
  • Bug fix: CogSketch is now tolerant of opening worksheets whose student workspace was deleted.
  • Bug fix: UI elements that should have worked with a single click had been requiring two clicks in certain circumstances. This is now fixed.

New in v 4.16 (released 12/21/2020)

  • Bug fix: Exporting history action new-subsketch now works again.

See the Complete Revision History for earlier changes.

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