January 2010

This week in 838 (Feb 1-5)

January 28, 2010

in News

For the first week in February, we’ll have another general lecture, as well as trying to use a specific example to spur our thinking.

  • On Tuesday, Feb 2, there are readings (see here) on “Why Visualization” from several perspectives. There’s a fair amount of reading, but it should be discussion provoking.
  • On Thursday, Feb 4, we’ll look at 1 or 2 papers (see here) to provoke a conversation on how to come up with creative ideas for visualization. (this link doesn’t seem to appear, even though it was “scheduled” to show up 5 minutes ago).

We’re still in reading mode. I am hoping we’ll do some “try it at home” assignments soon.

(due Tuesday, Feb 2)

Again, I’d like you to read 3 things to give you 3 different perspectives on the matter.

  1. Chapter 9 of Visual Thinking (the textbook) by Colin Ware. Yes, we’re reading the last chapter first. You might want to skim through the book leading up to it (I basically read qucikly) it in one sitting. Reading the ending might motivate you to read the whole thing (which we will later). The perspective here is how the perceptual science might suggest why vis is interesting.
  2. Chapter 2 of Tufte’s Visual Explanations (pages 26-53). The perspective here is historical – what can happen when Visualizations work or fail. A scan of the capter is here, and hopefully you remember how to access the protected course reader.
  3. The paper: J.-D. Fekete, J.J. van Wijk, J.T. Stasko, C. North,  The Value of Information Visualization.
    In: A. Kerren, J.T. Stasko, J.-D. Fekete, C. North (eds.), Information Visualization – Human-Centered Issues and Perspectives. LNCS 4950, Springer, p. 1-18, 2008. Which is here.

Originally, I was going to assign a different 3rd paper (which I still rcommend, if you want to read an optional 4th paper):  “Views on Visualization” by Jack van Wijk.   There’s a copy here. This is an extended version of his best-paper-ward winning “Value of Visualization” paper (which is here).

Please read these things and post some comments about what you think of them. We’ll discuss them in class through the week.

The main conversation was about the papers that people were intrigued by.

For the “what does vis do for you part”, I was working from the notes:2010-01-28-whatvisdoes

Other people’s notes:

nakho’s notes: 01-28-nakho

I have added some more links on how to actually find Vis papers on the link for Assignment 3. Unfortunately, the set of things that is complete and official (the IEEE digital library) is not convenient, and the things that are convenient are not complete.

How the web page works

January 26, 2010

in BasicInfo,News

This is coming up enough that it deserves a little discussion…

My experiment in how to set up the course web is having a few problems – people aren’t finding stuff, can’t figure out how to do some things, … The design is flawed. I’m the first to admit it.

Some of this is we (staff and students) just need to get over the initial learning hurdle. Some of it is we need to make a few tweaks in order for things to be less confusing. And finally, some larger improvements to the design (and potentially a total redesign) need to be done. At a deep level, I’m trying to use blogging software to be a course management system – its not clear that this is a good idea.

However, in the short term, I want to focus on getting the course content better organized – and see how things stabilize, and what happens after people get used to the quirky system. So no major redesigns. To make things go more smoothly:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, read the post on how wordpress is setup for this class.
  2. A lot of the issues are related to first-time startup (the first time you make a post, the first time you have to find a reading). Now that you’ve done it, it should be easier.
  3. Understand the difference between a posting and a comment. For readings, you’ll be asked to make comments on the reading posting. For assignments, you will (usually) be asked to make postings. I will try to be clearer.
  4. I have tried to make assignments (things that you do) and readings (things that read and comment on) distinct. Except for readings/assignment 1 which was both. I’m not sure this distinction is important: so I’m going to (try to) merge the categories from now on.
  5. In the “this week in 838” posting, i’ll include links to the things you will do.
  6. If someone finds a way to add links to the google calendar, please let me know.
  7. I am going to map out the assignments/reading/class content more than a week ahead of time (famous last words). This should make it easier for you to see what’s coming, so you don’t need to find everything for the first time at the last minute.

Thanks for your patience – this is all a big experiment, and so far, it seems to be going OK.

Here are the notes I had to use for the lecture. The actual conversation was much less organized.

Unfortunately, we have no easy way for you to attach things to this posting. So if you have notes that you’re willing to share, send them to the TA and he’ll attach them. If you have handwritten notes that might be useful for others, we can help you scan them.

I did not make an audio recording, but the class was enough of a conversation that just having my side of it would be even less useful.

2010-01-26-notes-whatisvis – mike’s notes

puneet-1-26 – puneet’s notes

01-26-nakho – nakho’s notes

Faisal Khan

January 26, 2010

in Student Posts

I am second year graduate student in computer science department. I have been working in distributed computing for a while now. Basically through my job before coming here and also as a research assistant in this department. I recently became more interested in compter vision and machine learning. As, I am in early stages of learning these fields I can not really say what kind of visualization challenges are involved. Apart from this I will also be interested in applying visualization techniques to data outside my domain.  This way I guess I  come in between the domain scientist and vis scientist.

I expect to learn some good design patterns for a wide set of data-sets with varying dimensions, scale etc. This might be very helpful as I am still not sure exactly the visualization challenges I might face. Additionally, I would also like to know about the recent trends in visualization research and about some useful visualization tool-kits. I am also looking forward for getting some hands on experience through assignments or project.

As for programming and design skills are concerned, I have a good amount of experience with handful of programming and scripting languages. I haven’t done much on the design side and not much work related to 3D graphics either. The main visualization experience is with system admin tools for visualizing network and cluster activities etc.

Danielle Albers

January 26, 2010

in Student Posts

Hi all! I am a first year graduate student in Computer Science. I’m currently interested in graphics and artificial intelligence. My research is geared toward creating large-scale visualizations with specific focus on the visualization of aligned genomic sequences.

Since my research is vis-based, my interests in visualization are to better understand it as both an art and a science. There is a lot of really cool work currently being done in the field. I’m looking forward to getting more exposure to the wide range of visualization techniques currently in use. Generally, in terms of the visualization perspectives, I spend the bulk of my time in the Vis Scientist category in addition to giving a fair share of attention to the Designer aspect of things. From this class, I hope to get a better understanding of the Designer/Domain Scientist aspects of visualization through our class discussions and to get a better understanding of how to compose effective visualizations. I have a fair bit of programming experience in a variety of languages and have some design experience, mostly in the web domain.

cs.wisc.edu/~dalbers [not a good example of web design, but oh well 🙂 ]

Shuang Huang

January 26, 2010

in Student Posts

Name: Shuang Huang

Department: Statistics

Status: Third-year PhD student

Website: www.stat.wisc.edu/~huangs

I am new to visualization although I spend most of my researching time on playing with data. My interest in this field is to learn how to withdraw information from data effectively and efficiently, and then present to others clearly. The data I am working on is from geneticists, which are of huge quantity and sometimes messy. I wish I can learn skills to make data and statistical results easy to understand.

The softwares I am using are R, SAS and MATLAB. I used to program in C/C++ many years ago. Like most statistician, I would view myself as a tool user and domain scientist.

Nakho Kim

January 26, 2010

in Student Posts

I am:
– at the School of Journalism, fourth year PhD student.

– Mapping complex dynamics among social agents and media.
– Positioning emerging citizen journalism in specific forms of “media ecology”.
– Utilizing community network knowledge for journalism and community discourses.

* Currently working on agent-based models of media institution interactions for dissertation research.
* Currently working on the community journalism project “Madison Commons” as technical manager/developer with prof. Lew Friedland.
* Also partly involved in designing implementations for the community social network database “Community Knowledge Base”, which is being developed by prof. Lew Friedland.

– Find ideas to better visualize complex relational models (e.g. social networks) for academic and popular uses.

– As for computing skills, server management experiences, some PHP and tiny bit JAVA(administrator-level, rather than programmer-level).
– Visualization tools I’ve used include network analysis programs such as UCINET and ORA, ABM programs such as NetLOGO.