Information Visualization and Visual Analytics

Team Members: Mengdie Hu, Hannah Pileggi, Zach Pousman, Ramik Sadana, Chad Stolper, John Stasko



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The research areas of Information Visualization (InfoVis) and Visual Analytics (VA) are two of the main foci of the II Lab. This work is all about presenting data visually in order to aid people in exploring, analyzing, and understanding the data. Information visualization typically focuses on abstract data, that is, data without any agreed-upon depiction, such as financial data, text, statistics, databases, and software. Visual analytics emphasizes analytical reasoning about data and combines computational analysis techniques with interactive visualizations. Below are a number of the subareas within InfoVis and VA in which we are working. For a broad look at InfoVis/VA related links and information on the web, see our InfoVis web resources page.

Theoretical Foundations - We are exploring the application of distributed cognition as a theoretical foundation for information visualization. The concepts inherent in distributed cognition appear to be a very sound basis to understand the value of infovis and how to make visualizatyions more effective. We also seek to better understand the value of visualization as a cognitive aid.
InfoVis '10, InfoVis '10, InfoVis '08, Springer book chapter '08

Techniques and Tools - Our work often involves the development of new visualization techniques and tools. Sometimes the techniques/tools are built for specific kinds of data, and other times they are more general purpose. We have developed techniques to portray tabular data, video data, and hierarchical data, among others, and systems such as Ploceus, SellTrend, and Dust 'n Magnet.
IEEE TVCG '13, EuroVis/CG Forum '12, EuroVis '12, Comp. Statistics '12, VAST '11, InfoVis/TVCG '09, InfoVis/TVCG '08, Information Visualization '08, Information Visualization '05

Domain-specific problems - We frequently work with people and organizations from different areas and who have data that they want to understand better. Recent examples include work in areas such as web transactions, airline travel, business markets, mutual funds and stocks, RFID location information, and sports. We build interactive visualization systems that help these people explore and analyze their data.
VAHC '13, InfoVis/TVCG '13, InfoVis/TVCG '12, IEEE CG&A '12, EuroVA '11, InfoVis/TVCG '09, VAST '09, InfoVis '03

Casual InfoVis - Traditional or "core" infovis typically refers to "deep-dive" analysis often done with sophisticated, multiple-view systems used for hours at a time to do complex analysis. Another style of infovis that we call Casual InfoVis, still involving the visualization of information, involves the use of visualizations for just a few moments at a time but very frequently. We are defining and exploring this new subarea of InfoVis.
InfoVis/TVCG '07

Interaction - InfoVis is made up of two main components: representation and interaction. Representation gets much more focus and is often thought of as more exciting. Interaction, the "little brother", does not receive as much focus, but we argue that it is crucial for InfoVis and harbors the potential for greater innovation in the future.
Information Visualization '09, InfoVis/TVCG '07

User Tasks - Too often InfoVis is about innovative visual representations with little concern on whether those representations are actually useful to people. We have been promoting a more task- and analysis-centric view of the discipline, rather than a representation-centric view. In a paper at InfoVis '05, we identified a set of 10 low-level analytic tasks such as correlate, filter, cluster, etc., that characterize what people do when using infovis systems in data analysis. In papers in TVCG '05 and InfoVis '04, we posited a set of higher-level knowledge precepts that help bridge the analytic gaps between data representation and higher-level analytic tasks, such as forecasting, learning new domains, and cost-benefit analysis. For more details, see the vis tasks webpages.
InfoVis '05, TVCG '05, InfoVis '04

Evaluation - Evaluation has been a key theme of our research and we make sure to stress careful evaluation in all of the infovis projects from the lab. This topic is certainly related to our work on User Tasks, since clearly understanding what a person is trying to accomplish with a system is key to evaluating the system well.
VAST/TVCG '12, TVCG '11, CHI '11, VAST '09, InfoVis/TVCG '08, BELIV '06, IJHCS '00,

Hierarchical Data - We have done a lot of work on visualizing hierarchies through different kinds of space-filling visualizations. In 2000, we introduced the SunBurst circular space-filling technique/system that uses animation to help drill down into the hierarchy and we compared SunBurst to the well-known Treemap technique. At InfoVis '03, we also introduced a variant of Treemaps called the Context Treemap that has been useful for portraying data sets like mutual fund portfolios.
InfoVis '03, IJHCS '00, InfoVis '00

Software Visualization - This is a large subarea of Information Visualization that involves visualization of software, both algorithms and programs, to help people better understand the software. We have been researching software visualization for twenty+ years, and our work is summarized in the SoftVis web pages. The softvis.org web pages provide further information about the area including links to the ACM Symposium on Software Visualization.

Information Security - Together with information security researchers at Georgia Tech, we have examined how visualization may assist information assurance and information security. We've developed systems for visualizing IDS alarm and network packets.
IEEE CG&A '06, VizSec '05, SOUPS '05

Education - John Stasko has been teaching CS 7450, a graduate course on Information Visualization, since 1999. His syllabus, lecture slides, assignments, and bibliographic entries are all provided on-line at the class website. Video recordings of almost all the class lectures from the course also are available in the Visual Analytics Digital Library.
Springer book chapter '08

Conferences - John was General Chair for IEEE VIS 2013 in Atlanta. Previously, he was Papers Co-Chair for the IEEE VAST 2009 Symposium. He was General Chair for IEEE InfoVis 2007 and Papers Co-Chair for InfoVis 2005 and InfoVis 2006. Some subset of Information Interfaces students always attend the conferences and our group is an active paticipant year in-year out.

Past and Present InfoVis and Visual Analytics Systems Research Projects
Jigsaw - Visualization for investigative analysis
Ploceus - Network-based visualization of tabular data
Dotlink360 - Visual analytics for exploring converging business ecosystems
CiteVis - Visualization of conference paper citations
SetVis - Visualization of large sets of items
Behavis - Behavior data explored through visualization
Rosemary - Creating information visualizations without programming
SportsVis - Visualization to analyze sports data
Intelligence Analysis - Visual analytics to help intelligence analysts
SellTrend - Visualizing temporal, categorical event transactions
Dust & Magnet - InfoVis via a magnet metaphor
Fund Explorer - Stock portfolio diversification through Context Treemaps
InfoCanvas - Peripheral information art
Information Mural - Squeezing large data sets into small views
NetVizor - Visualizing network topologies
SunBurst - Radial space-filling views of hierarchies
Tarantula - Testing and debugging large software systems

Papers
"Visual Exploration of Common Behaviors for Developmental Health", VAHC '13
"Understanding Interfirm Relationships in Business Ecosystems with Interactive Visualization", InfoVis & TVCG '13
"Combining Computational Analyses and Interactive Visualization for Document Exploration and Sensemaking in Jigsaw", TVCG '13
"Visual Analytics Support for Intelligence Analysis", IEEE Computer '13
"SnapShot: Visualization to Propel Ice Hockey Analytics", InfoVis & TVCG '12
"Examining the Use of a Visual Analytics System for Sensemaking Tasks: Case Studies with Domain Experts", TVCG '12
"iVisClustering: An Interactive Visual Document Clustering via Topic Modeling", Computer Graphics Forum, '12
"The Parallel Coordinates Matrix", EuroVis '12
"Visual Analytics for Converging-Business-Ecosystem Intelligence" IEEE CG&A '12
"Visual matrix explorer for collaborative seriation" WIRE: Computational Statistics '12
"Network-based Visual Analysis of Tabular Data" VAST '11
"How Can Visual Analytics Assist Investigative Analysis? Design Implications from an Evaluation" TVCG '11
"Exploring Complex Mobile Life through Lightweight Visualizations" EuroVA '11
"Evaluating Video Visualizations of Human Behavior" CHI '11
"Mental Models, Visual Reasoning and Interaction in Information Visualization: A Top-down Perspective" InfoVis & TVCG '10
"Poster: Visualizing Converging Business Ecosystems for Competitive Intelligence" InfoVis '10 Poster
"Theories in Information Visualization: What, Why and How" InfoVis '10 Workshop
"Visualization and Language Processing for Supporting Analysis Across the Biomedical Literature" KES '10
"Combining Computational Analyses and Interactive Visualization to Enhance Information Retrieval" HCIR '10
"The Science of Interaction" Information Visualization '09
"SellTrend: Inter-Attribute Visual Analysis of Temporal Transaction Data" InfoVis & TVCG '09
"Evaluating Visual Analytics Systems for Investigative Analysis: Deriving Design Principles from a Case Study" VAST '09
"A Visual Analytics System for Radio Frequency Fingerprinting-based Localization" VAST '09
"Distributed Cognition as a Theoretical Framework for Information Visualization" InfoVis & TVCG '08
"Viz-A-Vis: Toward Visualizing Video through Computer Vision" InfoVis & TVCG '08
"Effectiveness of Animation in Trend Visualization" InfoVis & TVCG '08
"Jigsaw: Supporting Investigative Analysis through Interactive Visualization" Information Visualization '08
"The Value of Information Visualization" book chapter
"Teaching Information Visualization" book chapter
"DataMeadow: A Visual Canvas for Analysis of Large-Scale Multivariate Data" Information Visualization '08
"Understanding and Characterizing Insights: How Do People Gain Insights Using Information Visualization" BELIV '08
"Casual Information Visualization: Depictions of Data in Everyday Life" InfoVis & TVCG'07
"Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Role of Interaction in Information Visualization" InfoVis & TVCG '07
"Jigsaw: Supporting Investigative Analysis through Interactive Visualization" VAST '07
"DataMeadow: A Visual Canvas for Analysis of Large-Scale Multivariate Data", VAST '07
"SportVis: Discovering Meaning in Sports Statistics Through Information Visualization" InfoVis '06 Poster
"Countering Security Information Overload through Alert and Packet Visualization" IEEE CG&A '06
"Evaluating Information Visualizations: Issues and Opportunities" BELIV '06
"Dust & Magnet: Multivariate Information Visualization using a Magnet Metaphor" Information Visualization '05
"Low-Level Components of Analytic Activity in Information Visualization" InfoVis '05
"IDS Rainstorm: Visualizing IDS Alarms" VizSec '05
"Knowledge Precepts for Design and Evaluation of Information Visualizations" TVCG '05
"Attacking Information Visualization System Usability: Overloading and Deceiving the Human," SOUPS '05
"A Knowledge Task-Based Framework for Design and Evaluation of Information Visualizations" InfoVis '04 (Best Paper)
"FundExplorer: Supporting the Diversification of Mutual Fund Portfolios Using Context Treemaps" InfoVis '03
"Visualization of Test Information to Assist Fault Localization" ICSE '02
"Visually Encoding Program Test Information to Find Faults in Software" InfoVis '01
"An Evaluation of Space-Filling Information Visualizations for Depicting Hierarchical Structures" IJHCS '00
"Focus+Context Display and Navigation Techniques for Enhancing Radial, Space-Filling Hierarchy Visualizations" InfoVis '00
"The Information Mural: A Technique for Displaying and Navigating Large Information Spaces," IEEE TVCG '98