Computing Faculty, Students Win IEEE VAST 2007 Symposium Contest

October 4, 2007

College of Computing Professor John Stasko, along with Post-Doc Carsten Goerg and students Zhicheng Liu, Kanupriyah Singhal, Neel Parekh have won the university division of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) 2007 Symposium Contest. The winning entry was for a system to analyze simulated counter-terrorism data.

This year's contest involved a hypothetical investigative/intelligence analysis scenario and required participants to analyze a large information repository containing about 1500 news articles, a number of spreadsheets, background information documents/briefings, blog entries, and images, in order to discover an embedded law enforcement/counter-terrorism scenario, form hypotheses about it, and collect supporting evidence.

To win the contest, the team used the Jigsaw system being developed as a large research project in the Information Interfaces Lab, led by Stasko. Jigsaw is a visual analytics and information visualization system developed with funding from the Department of Homeland Securitythat provides multiple interactive visualizations of the documents in a collection and the entities in those documents, with a focus on highlighting connections between entities (people, places, organizations, etc.) in the documents. A paper on the Jigsaw project will be presented at the Symposium.

Jigsaw is being developed since January 2006 by the Southeast Regional Visualization and Analytics Center (SRVAC), with funding from the Department of Homeland Security-sponsored Regional Visualization and Analytics Center (RVAC), run jointly at Georgia Tech with the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

On October 29th, the team will also will compete in a second special live contest where they will work with actual intelligence analysts using their system.

"We’re very excited to get more feedback about the system from actual experts in the area," said Stasko.

The second annual IEEE VAST 2007 Symposium will be held from October 30th to November 1st in Sacramento, California.

Visit the VAST Symposium Website
Visit the Contest Website
Visit the Jigsaw Project Website
Visit the SRVAC Website