FloWr – Studying Automated Process Invention for Creative Purposes



The project aims to provide a development platform for Comutational Creativity comprising three things:

  • A simple interface that lets people from all backgrounds create software.
  • A large repository of task-specific tools.
  • A framework for people to create their own.

The system uses the common notion of flowcharts to describe systems. In a FloWr flowchart, boxes represent individual process nodes, each of which performs a specific individual task. The arrows between boxes represent the data transfer between them. A more detailed overview of the system can be found here.

Downloading FloWr

A desktop version of the FloWr system has been released. We have already used this system to create many flowcharts for tasks including poetry generation and automated theory formation. Right now, the processes in FloWr are text based and, like many NLP systems, these processes rely on large amounts of data. Hence, there will be a large download of text-based data required.

Please download the files linked here:

Please follow the following steps to get FloWr working:

  1. Expand the FloWrCode14thMar2014.zip file into a suitable code directory for your IDE
  2. Expand the FloWrData14thMar2014.zip file into a suitable directory for data. Note that this will be a large directory, and hence you might want to avoid putting it into a DropBox directory, for example. Remember the name of this directory: let’s call it $DATA
  3. Have a look at the batch files in the code directory. You need to edit the command to point to the profile.xml file in your data directory ($DATA/profiles/profile.xml)

Please remember that FloWr is research rather than enterprise software, and it is likely that you will find a way to crash it. We have set up a Bugzilla account for you to report issues on, and we will circulate details of that soon. Happy Flowcharting!!

Future Work

We intend to offer all the features of the flow system via a web portal, including allowing them to run the software they have created remotely on our hosted system. We are alos interested in the notion of software creating software. This is a significant research challenge but we are hoping that the simplicity of the FloWr system will help.

Please keep coming back as the project progresses…


Charnley, John; Colton, Simon; Llano, Maria Teresa

The FloWr Framework: Automated Flowchart Construction, Optimisation and Alteration for Creative Systems Inproceedings

In: Proceedings of the 5th international conference on computational creativity, 2014.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX