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Taking Control: Interaction for Visual Exploration

Event Date: April 24, 2008
Speaker: Niklas Elmqvist
Speaker Affiliation: University of Paris-Sud
Sponsor: ECE Prospective Faculty Candidate
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: MSEE 239
Contact Name: Prof David Ebert
Contact Phone: 765-494-9064
Contact Email:
Open To: Acceptable for ECE694A


Visualization enables viewers to understand and interpret complex data using graphical form, but the increasing complexity and size of today's datasets means that mere visual representations are no longer enough.  While interaction is typically part of the definition of information visualization research, it is often overlooked or given only cursory attention in favor of the visible output of a visualization technique. 

In this talk, I will describe my work on characterizing and utilizing interaction in order to enable a true visual exploration process: the interactive use of visualizations to form hypotheses, find evidence, and draw conclusions about datasets.  I will go into detail on the different components of this process, and I will show how it makes many of the aforementioned problems of complexity and size tractable. Furthermore, I will give concrete examples and demonstrations of my work in the area, including the DataMeadow and ScatterDice tools for multidimensional analysis, the ZAME system for large-scale graph visualization, and the Color Lens technique for colorscale optimization.  I will also outline a research agenda based on harnessing and improving interaction for visual exploration.  


Niklas Elmqvist is a Microsoft Research postdoctoral researcher in the AVIZ team at INRIA in Paris, France.  Active in the research fields of information visualization and human-computer interaction, his long-term research focus is intelligence amplification using visualization.  He is currently working on interaction for multidimensional visual exploration, optimization of colorscales for quantitative data, and large-scale graph visualization.