CS 5764: Information Visualization
The goal of the semester project is to design, develop, and evaluate a new information visualization.
The purpose is to gain experience in applying information visualization to a
difficult problem and contributing novel research. The project is expected to be a
significant effort, with useful quality results. This will involve
much creativity, teamwork, learning about related research, planning and implementing a solution,
and writing and presenting results. All project work is in small groups. The project can easily initiate or
link to your thesis research. Good projects can result in publication.
The project dataset is here: Blue Iggy
scenario. It contains about 1500 documents.
The domain of this project is visualization
for intelligence analysis. The intelligence analysis
exercise we did in class on the Stegosaurus
scenario should give you a good idea about the types of
problems encountered in this domain. This is a large and complex problem, so you
will likely want to focus on a specific piece of the overall problem. Your goal
is to create a visualization tool that will help you (and others) to solve
intelligence analysis problems like this one. Your final product should be a functioning
tool, and you hypothesis answer to this particular analysis problem.
At the end of the semester, we will have a Live Contest. At the
contest, the teams will be given a new similar but smaller dataset that you will
attempt to solve with your project tool during a 2 hour session. Thus your
tool should be developed such that a dataset with similar formatting can be
loaded. The contest is where you find out how effective your tool really is!
The team to solve the contest dataset first will win the grand prize.
welcome to use any design tools and implementation environments as you see fit.
I encourage groups to make use of the VT
GigaPixel Display or other
advanced technologies as part of your design. Access to facilities can be
arranged. Impress me.
You will work in teams of 4 students. Form teams during the 1st week of
class. I also encourage multiple teams to work together in a coordinated
way, so that their final products can link in some way. For example, two
teams might work on two different aspects of the problem, so that the
combination of the two tools creates an even more powerful solution.
Teamwork can be difficult! It is helpful to clearly identify how each
team member contributes at each stage of the project. At the end of the
semester, I will ask each team to list each member's contributions. Typically,
all members of a team receive the same project scores, except for clear
occasions. Report any
team problems to the instructor early, so something can be done to remedy
the situation before it is too late.
The steps of the process and deliverables are as follows (due dates are on
the class calendar):
- Team formation: Form a team of 4 students during the 1st week
of class. Hand in a list of team member names, and a team name.
Then, get started quickly!
- Design concept & presentation: Identify the problem you will
tackle, review potentially related work, and create your visualization design
concept. This is the time to think big and dream up interesting
solutions. Your final design should be thorough enough that you can
begin implementation and evaluation next. The primary output goal of
this step is to convey your design to the instructor and class. The
design step has 2 deliverables:
- Written report: should contain at least the following:
- Front matter: Title, team members and contact info, 1 paragraph
abstract summarizing the concept.
- Introduction: clearly identify the specific problem, research questions, and
goals of the project.
- Literature review: identify and review the related literature and
comments below). Be sure to identify literature that is relevant to the
specific problems and solutions you proposing, not just general literature
of the overall intelligence analysis domain.
- Design: describe the proposed design of the visualization and user interface.
Include figures. Identify any open questions about the design that
need to be resolved by evaluations. Describe alternative designs
considered, and/or broader picture within which your design fits. Your
design description should specifically identify:
- what information structures and types you are visualizing,
- visual mappings you are using to visualize the information,
- overview and navigation strategies your design employs,
- what interaction techniques you are using
- Scenario: show how analysts will solve the dataset scenario using your
- Impact: describe the specific benefits and limitations of the potential
results of the project.
- Schedule: identify the action plan, who will do what and when?
- In-class Presentation: Each team will give a 15 minute
presentation of their design concept. Convey your concept by whatever
means you see fit. Be creative.
- the order of presentations is here.
Note about Literature Review: Review the research and solutions that others have done that is
related to your project. The goal is to identify how your work fits into
the space of the current state-of-the-art. This will require searching and
're-searching' the scientific
literature. Useful starting points are the
Library computer science section (which has links to the ACM and IEEE
digital libraries), any relevant references in papers, the
class bibliography, and
other people who are experts in the domain.
www.citeseer.com is helpful for tracking
references. Be thorough! You will be surprised
how much similar work has been done previously. Include pictures. As
a rough guideline, you should have 10-20 references to closely related work.
- Initial implementation: Refine your
design through feedback from step 2.
initial implementation of your refined design. The deliverable at this
step includes screenshots of the initial implementation, and a short progress report
that presents the refined design, implementation status,
and any changes to the project scope.
- Complete implementation: This should be your fully functional
demonstration. The deliverable is screenshots and a short progress
- Evaluation report: In the evaluation phase, you will now
use your tools to analyze the data (Blue Iggy scenario posted above)
and generate hypotheses about the plots in the data. Be sure to track your
analytic process as you go, because you will need to report on it. You should hand in a written report by
filling in this answer template. This is essentially a longitudinal
insight-based self evaluation of your tools.
Live Contest: Your team will also compete in a Live Contest.
At the Contest (see calendar), your team will be
given a new dataset (formatted identically to the Blue Iggy) and you
will have 1-2 hours to attempt to solve it using your tool. All teams will
be competing at the same time. At the end of the session, answers will be
compared. The last section of your Evaluation Report should describe
your experience at the Contest.
- Final presentation: During the last weeks of class, each team will give a presentation
of their final product, including a scenario-based demo, and your insights/hypothesis about the
Blue Iggy data. This is your opportunity to show off what you have
accomplished and impress everybody. It may be necessary to schedule a separate demo with
the instructor to adequately
demonstrate the entire work.
- Final paper and archive: Each team must produce a final paper that documents the project and results. The
paper should be modeled after typical conference papers. Use the papers discussed in class as
an example. Use plenty of pictures. The instructor may invite the team to
submit the paper to a conference.
In general, the paper should at least include:
- Introduction: clearly identify the problem, research questions, and
goals of the project.
- Literature review: identify and review the related literature.
- Design: describe the visualization, examples/scenarios,
- Scenario of use
- Evaluation and results: how well did you achieve what you set out
- Future work: what was not implemented, what open issues need to be
- Conclusions: must include a statement of the intellectual contributions
made by the work.
- References cited
- an appendix statement detailing what work each team member contributed during the
Final paper should be 8 pages, using this standard conference
paper format or similar.
Submit a hardcopy of the final paper, and a zip file containing all of the
project materials and deliverables (code, data, presentations, papers including
Final Report and step 5 Evaluation Report, etc.) --
send me a URL to download the ZIP.