CS 4460 B - Intro. to Information Visualization
Instructor: John Stasko
Information visualization centers around helping people explore or explain data through interactive software that exploits the capabilities of the human perceptual system. A key challenge in information visualization is designing a cognitively useful spatial mapping of a dataset that is not inherently spatial and accompanying the mapping by interaction techniques that allow people to intuitively explore the dataset. Information visualization draws on the intellectual history of several traditions, including computer graphics, human-computer interaction, cognitive psychology, semiotics, graphic design, statistical graphics, cartography, and art. The synthesis of relevant ideas from these fields with new methodologies and techniques made possible by interactive computation are critical for helping people keep pace with the torrents of data confronting them.
Information visualization methods are applied to data from many different application domains, including:
The objectives of the course are
The course will follow a lecture/seminar style with much discussion of assigned readings, as well as viewing of videos and hands-on experience with research and commercial information visualization tools.
With respect to textbooks, we will be using the book: Now You See It by Stephen Few, Analytics Press 2009, in the course. This book has helpful design guidance that will be useful even after this course. In addition, we will be using some chapters from a draft of Tamara Munzner's new textbook Visualization Analysis and Design that is available online as a pdf draft. Also highly recommended, especially for visualization junkies, is the classic Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte, Graphics Press 1990.
Grading will be based on class participation, homework assignments involving application of class principles, a midterm and final exam, and a semester gourp-based design and implementation project. The weight of each assignment can be found on the assignments page.
Academic integrity: Unless explicitly stated otherwise, you are expected to do your assignments and work on your own. Your project will be a collaborative effort among a group of students. For it, you may use libraries and code fragments from sources on the web that you integrate into an overall working system. Your source code should indicate what code is imported and used as is, what code is imported and modified, and what code is original. It is appropriate to discuss your project with others to gain ideas and feedback and help with sticky problems. It is not appropriate to find an existing infovis system, modify it and submit it as your own work. If in doubt, confer with your instructor.