SCIRun is a Problem Solving Environment (PSE), for modeling, simulation and visualization of scientific problems.
Historically, one of the major hurdles to SCIRun/BioPSE becoming a tool for the scientist or engineer has been SCIRun's dataflow interface. While visual programming is natural for computer scientists, who are accustomed to writing software and building algorithmic pipelines, it is overly cumbersome for application scientists. Even when a dataflow network implements a specific application (such as the forward bioelectric field simulation network provided with BioPSE and detailed in the BioPSE Tutorial), the user interface (UI) components of the network are presented to the user in separate UI windows, without any semantic context for their settings. Historically, there has not been a way to present the filename entries in their semantic context, for example to indicate that one entry should identify the electrodes input file and the other should identify the finite element mesh file.
With the 1.20 release of BioPSE/SCIRun, PowerApps were introduced. A PowerApp is a customized interface built atop a dataflow application network. The dataflow network controls the execution and synchronization of the modules that comprise the application, but the generic user interface windows are replaced with entries that are placed in the context of a single application-specific interface window.
PowerApps replace the multitude of generic dataflow user interface (UI) windows with a single customized interface. The most important controls from the dataflow interface are linked to contextually labeled variables on the PowerApp UI, while the other dataflow variables are assigned appropriate defaults, reducing the visual complexity and generic labels of the dataflow UI windows. the UI components are organized into logical groups and assists the user in smoothly progressing through the stages of the application.