Algorithm Animation Software

MacBALSA was written by Marc H. Brown as part of his thesis work at Brown. This software is capable of performing very sophisticated algorithm animations. The following article contains a good description of the software.

Marc H. Brown, Exploring Algorithms Using Balsa-II, IEEE Computer, May 1988, 14-36.

Marc's dissertation is available in print as

Marc H. Brown, Algorithm Animation, ACM Distinguished Dissertations, MIT Press, 1987, ISBN 0-262-02278-8.

The enclosed balsa-manual.pdf gives a less technical description of the software. Please note that it contains Marc Brown's old address. His current address is It also contains some warnings against copying the software. Marc has assured me that it is OK to copy the software. I hope to replace this manual with an updated version that corrects these errors.

It seems that MacBALSA was meant to accompany Sedgewick's Algorithms book.

Robert Sedgewick, Algorithms, Addison-Wesley, second edition, 1988, ISBN 0-201-06673-4.

(There are variants called Algorithms in C, Algorithms in C++, and Algorithms in Modula-3.) The algorithms are organized by chapter number in this book. It also appears that MacBALSA was the source for many of the figures in the text.

I produced version 1.0 of MacBALSA using version Aleph 4 of the source code. It will run on a 68K Macintosh that has the Thread Manager installed or any PowerPC Macintosh.

Newer releases of the MacOS had rendered version Aleph 4 of MacBALSA fairly unstable. In this version I have corrected all of the stability problems that I could identify. I have fixed a number of bugs. I also changed the software so that it uses threads when running algorithms. Please let me know if you discover any problems.

MacBALSA work in Mac OS X's Classic environment, but I would like to see it carbonized. If anyone does this, please let me know.

Download MacBALSA 1.0.2. This version fixes a crashing bug on a PowerPC.

Download the source code for MacBALSA. Please send me any changes you make so I can incorporate them.

Last updated: 2001-04-19 Rick Zaccone