This is an archived website for Spring 2017

by Mike Gleicher on July 21, 2017

This is the website for an old (Spring 2017) edition of CS765.

If you are looking for the newer (Fall 2017) edition of CS765 please look here.

DC3 Grades

by Mike Gleicher on May 12, 2017

We graded DC3 and the grades were posted to Canvas. We saw many interesting designs, and a range of ideas.

Unfortunately, in order to get things graded on time, we were not able to type up our notes on each assignment. So you got no feedback other than the grade.

  1. If you want feedback because you’d like to use this as an opportunity to learn more about visualization, let us know and we’ll set up a time to do this in person.
  2. If you want to talk about your grade and understand why you didn’t get a higher score… First, I checked (after posting grades): given the current grading spreadsheet, a 1/2 letter grade raise won’t change anyone’s final grade. So, arguing about your DC3 won’t raise your final grades. (we haven’t posted final grades, but they will be posted by noon).

For #1, we had asked about a demo session. Either, I didn’t spread the word well, or there is low interest. If more people sign up at, maybe we’ll do it. I’ll look at the list later today and guage interest. If there is no announcement, assume there’s no demo session.

If you’re curious, there was really no correlation between whether someone chose to write a tool or not – there were good and (less good) tools, and good and less good sketches/visualizations. Things without working tools often made up for it with really thoughtful analysis, critique, and creative design. (There were also some over-the-top tools, which also had really creative designs and really thoughtful analysis documentation – but we didn’t give people “more than As”)

Also, if you’re curious… less good tool submissions generally just made standard plots using standard plotting packages, and usually had minimal documentation (often below the minimum requirements). There were some assignments that had very creative uses of standard designs, using multiple visualizations to address a range of questions.

And since you’re probably not curious… a challange was the range of skills that people had. Someone with good implementation skills could build a nice system – independent of their skill at designing good visualizations. Fortunately, the most impressive systems (almost always) implemented well thought-out designs, and documented their rationales well. And we tried to reward good visualization design – even if the implementation wasn’t well integrated etc. (At the extreme, some sketch designs – implemented with colored pencil and post-it notes – got As).

DC Demos

by Mike Gleicher on May 8, 2017

OK, One final post about DC3 (I hope this is the last one…)

To the 14 people who turned in “pre-submissions” – I provided “quick” feedback in the submission comments. I did not look at things closely, nor try to assess anything other than completeness.

For demos: if you haven’t scheduled a slot, your still can at:

For the demos: if it wasn’t clear, please bring a laptop. We can try to demo things on lab machines, but this is less likely to work well (unless your demo is something running on a server somewhere else that we can access over the web).

DC3 Endgame

by Mike Gleicher on May 2, 2017

This post is to detail how we’ll do the handins and grading for Design Challenge 3. That posting has a lot of details on what to turn in, so you might want to read it again.

The deadlines in the assignment posting:

  1. Monday 5/8 – Noon – if you turn things in before this, we will check it
  2. Tuesday 5/9 – Noon – official deadline for turning things on Canvas. Things turned in after this will be considered late and (possibly) penalized.
  3. Tuesday 5/9 and Wednesday 5/10 (afternoon) – we’ll do demos. If you turned your project in on time (e.g. before the demos), and something comes up in the demo, you can update your project (it will be considered late – so ask at the demo if it’s worth making the fix). If you turn in your assignment during/after the demos, it will be counted as late.
  4. Wednesday May 10th – we cannot grade things turned in after this.


We will do “demos” on Tuesday, May 8th and Wednesday May 9th.

If you made a tool, a demo is pretty much required. If you really don’t want to show off what you’ve made, then we can try to look at what you turn in by itself, but it’s unlikely we’ll be able to test it.

If you didn’t make a tool, you are still welcome to schedule a demo so you can show off what you did and we can ask questions about it. It’s not essential if what you turn in is well documented and self-explanatory, but it gives us a chance to clarify things.

We will schedule demos for 20 minute slots, with 3 people in each slot (since not everyone will take the same amount of time). We expect to spend about 5 minutes with each one, but there is flexibility (some will be faster and some slower), and everyone can “load data” in parallel at the beginning.

Sign up for a time slot at:

Please try to take one of the available slots. If you really can’t make any of them either (1) try to get by without doing a demo, or (2) send email and we can try to schedule something for Monday (5/8) or Friday (5/5).

More on Grading

The turn in process and the things we’re looking for are detailed in the assignment, but here is a more specific process that we will use. Look at the list of 7 criteria (in “How will this be graded”) and the hand-in requirement

For Tools:

  1. [Demo] A quick overview of the design – what are the basic ideas and goals (this will supplement what you write in the handin)
  2. [Demo] Demonstrations based on data of your choice (data sets provided in the repository) – for these, we expect that you’ll not only be able to show that your tool does something reasonable, but point out how it addresses some of the tasks you identify.
  3. [Demo] Demonstrations based on our data sets (data sets we’ll give you at the demo) – for these, we’ll want to see that your tool works on new data sets. Also, we’ll want to see if your tool helps find some of the things that we have “planted” in the data. (for example, we might make a data set where a person got sick, or where there is a bad assignment)
  4. [After Demo] Review of the documentation and handin – from this, we’ll assess you design documents (e.g., task analysis, design rationale). While we will probably look at your code to satisfy our curiousity, we will not penalize you if your code is ugly. We will care that your handin is complete (e.g., that there are instructions on how to run things). We probably won’t try to run people’s tools (which is why the demos are important).

For Sketches and Visualizations:

At the demo, we’ll try to get a quick overview of what you were trying to do. We’ll let you point out some of the kinds of things you see in the examples you generate. Then we’ll ask you about how it might look on other data (including some specific things like “what would it look like if a good student got sick? how easy would it be to spot?”). The idea is that it will give you a chance to let us know how the design would work in other situations, even if you don’t give us a tool that let’s us try it.

For these kinds of assignment, our review of the hand-in after the demo will be more important.

Things we’ll look for (all assignment types): see the list on the assignment, but this is more “grading specific”:

  1. Did you turn in all required parts of the assignment?
  2. Does your task analysis show that you’ve thought about what you are trying to show?
  3. Does your design address some of these tasks? Can you provide convincing examples / rationale that the design will work?
  4. Is the design creative / interesting?
  5. Does the design make good use of the principles we discussed throughout class (e.g. encoding choices, …)?
  6. Is the design communicated well? Even if the implementation is crude, or the you just have a sketch, is there enough other information so we could imagine what it will look like in practice?
  7. Does the implementation work? Does it provide outputs that fit the design? Did it work on data sets you haven’t seen before?

There are, of course, trade-offs. If you have a tool that makes even a simple visualization but does so robustly (works on the new data sets), that’s an accomplishment – we’ll be impressed that you pulled it off in a short amount of time. If you just give a sketch, you’ll have to impress us with the creativity of your design or the thoroughness of your rationale or …



The Week in Vis: Week 15 (5/1-5/5)

by Mike Gleicher on April 30, 2017

We made it to the end (sortof). So many topics to discuss, so little time, …

Last week was “guest lecture week” and hopefully, was a chance to get started on Design Challenge 3.

Please do the official course evals. They really do help me – and the department. And the department really likes to see high turnout rates (we got over 90% for the mid-semester evals). Go to the AEFIS web page and you can fill it out. As of 4/30, only 14 people have done it.

I really do look at these things. I have a lot of good feedback from the mid-semester evals (you may have noticed changes in how the class was run, and more things will get fixed next semester).

Other that the course evals (please do it!)…

  • We have the last reading (Reading 15). I understand if there’s no discussion (although lots to discuss). Also, it’s a little disconnected from the lectures.
  • We have the last Seek and Find (Seek and Find 15).
  • Design Challenge 3 is going on. Hopefully, the Checkpoint will help us understand how we’re going to get these from people. I apologize for not figuring out the final details – but we need to be able to adapt to what people are doing. Expect instructions this week.

So this week…

  • Monday (5/1) – “Lecture” (if you can call it that – lectures in the room are a challenge for everyone) on 3D. The initial part of the Reading 15  is due – but it has nothing to do with the lecture. We may take some time to talk about DC3 (to let people discuss tools with others using similar ones).
  • Tuesday (5/2) – Design Challenge 3, Milestone 2. A chance to check in to see how everyone is doing, and figure out how we’ll collect the assignments.
  • Wednesday (5/3) – “Lecture” – on whatever topics are leftover (there are tons – not sure what I’ll talk about). Some SciVis stuff will certainly come up. Maybe more 3D. Maybe some low-level programming stuff to help with DC3. Who knows.
  • Friday (5/5) – Seek and Find 15 is due, and any other posts for any of the discussions that you want to grade.
  • And another reminder to do the course eval, if you haven’t.

By the end of the week, we should have a plan for how we’ll collect all the DC3s.


The Week in Vis: Week 14 (4/24-4/28)

by Mike Gleicher on April 21, 2017

We’re almost at the end. So here’s what is happening for the rest of the semester.

Last week, we had “lectures” about scale, hopefully, we learned more than just “the room is poorly suited to lectures.” We also talked about Design Challenge 3. Hopefully, you did Reading and Assignment 13 as well as Seek and Find 13. And you turned in the last of the turn in parts of Design Challenge 2.

This week (4/24-4/28) will be guest lecture week. Both real and virtual. It’s a chance for us to consider presentations and animation, and to work on Design Challenge 3. Reading/Assignment 14 is due, as is Seek and Find 14.

  • Monday (4/24) – Guest lecture on text visualization and set visualization. “Reading” and Discussion Assignment 14 starts (initial posting due).
  • Tuesday (4/25) – Design Challenge 3 Milestone 1 is due. What we want from you is minimal. It’s mainly so we can check to make sure you’ve started, and get a sense of what people plan to do so we can plan to help you.
  • Wednesday (4/26) – In class exercise to wrap up Design Challenge 2.
  • Friday (4/28) – No class! However, Seek and Find 14 is due, as is the later parts of Assignment 14 (including watching the virtual guest lecture).

This class (like all CS classes) will be doing online evaluations through AEFIS. You will get email with instructions. Please do a course evaluation.

The following week (5/1-5/3) is the last week of the semester. We’ll have the usual (lectures and reading 15 and seek and find), and Design Challenge 3 will continue.

I will be out of town from 4/21-4/29 (I am in France for Eurographics and The Workshop of Intelligent Cinematography and Editing. I am giving a keynote talk about things I did back when I was a graduate student. Normally, I don’t travel so much during the semester.

The Week in Vis: Week 13 (4/17-4/21)

by Mike Gleicher on April 14, 2017

This past week, we thought about how to think about multiple variables, and Design Challenge 2.

This coming week, we’ll wrap up DC2 and move on to DC3. We’ll also talk about scale: what happens in Vis when the data gets bigger and harder.

Note that on Monday, we’ll have an in-class design exercise, so being paper and something to draw with. (for those of you who like to do things on tablets, well, its easier to share paper with others in class, so we’ll prefer things on paper).

Also, on Wednesday, we’ll talk about DC3. So you should at least read the description (it’s not totally finished, but you can get the main ideas) and bring questions.

  • Monday, April 17th – An in class design exercise to introduce scalability issues, and a lecture on some of the issues in item removal and aggregation. Reading 13 (which is also Discussion/Assignment 13) is due (the first parts at least).
  • Tuesday, April 18th – The 3rd phase of Design Challenge 2 is due. The 4th phase will be an in-class exercise the following week.
  • Wednesday, April 19th – A lecture on other aspects of scalability (dimensionality reduction) and a discussion of Design Challenge 3.
  • Friday, April 21st – No class! The additional postings for Discussion/Assignment 13 and Seek and Find 13 are due.

After this week… there’s only 2 weeks left of class, and there are so many topics that we didn’t get to. And there’s Design Challenge 3.

The Week in Vis: Week 12 (4/10-4/14)

by Mike Gleicher on April 7, 2017

This past week, we talked about implementation. Which was interesting to some, and not so interesting to others. For those of you who are interested in implementation, it is important that we tried to understand what to implement first. For those of you who aren’t interested in implementation, well, hopefully it was a small enough dose that you got an appreciation for what the rest of us are doing.

The implementation points will be relevant for Design Challenge 3. It is available in draft form, including some initial data and some sample code. Design Challenge 2 is still going on, but you might want to look ahead.

Yes, I am aware we are slow in getting Design Challenge 1 graded. We are working on it.

This week…

  • Monday, April 10th – “Lecture” on Multi-variate data. Alper will be our guest lecturer. He will tell you some things useful for the latter parts of Design Challenge 2. Reading 12 is due, as is Discussion 12 (the initial posting).
  • Tuesday, April 11th – Phase 2 of Design Challenge 2 is due.
  • Wednesday, April 12th – In class, there will be some discussion of the second phase of Design Challenge 2, we’ll do an in-class design exercise. If there’s time left, Alper will help people understand how to do stuff inside the web browser (but this will be at the end, so those of you who don’t want to learn what happens inside a web browser can leave).
  • Friday, April 14th – No class! But Seek and Find 12 is due  is due. And the rest of the postings for Discussion 12.

For the rest of the semester…

  • Design Challenge 3 is coming up – you might want to look ahead at the preview.
  • We will have class on Mondays and Wednesdays, with no Friday sessions. By my count, we will have held pretty true to the twice per week schedule, and few people come to the optional Fridays when we had them. Plus, the semester ends on a Thursday, so the last Friday isn’t really an option, and the other Fridays I’m away (and there aren’t that many).
  • We’ll continue the weekly seek and finds (in fact, all of them are posted in case you want to get ahead). There will be weekly readings and discussions for the last weeks too. Hopefully they will get posted soon as well.
  • We have a backlog of grading… but we have a plan to get caught up.


Some resources (slides and links)

by Mike Gleicher on April 5, 2017

People asked me to update the repository of slides for the class. The Box folder (in the course reader) is now up to date, including what I had for today. Try this for a direct link.

I had promised the intro tutorial for SVG. I wrote a 6 part tutorial for the 2014 edition of the graphics class. If you try this (which effectively searches for all SVG related postings), you’ll find the 6 tutorials and the assignments that use them.


The Week in Vis: Week 11 (4/3/-4/7)

by Mike Gleicher on April 1, 2017

We made it to April – the home stretch for the class.

If you’ve been waiting for implementation stuff, now is the time for it. If you aren’t interested in implementation, we can hopefully still make it interesting for you.

In case you missed it, Design Challenge 2 is going on. You have something due on Tuesday. Get Used to things being due on Tuesdays.

This Week…

  • Monday, April 3 – “Lecture” on Implementation, but also a discussion about the design challenges. The lecture will be a lot more high-level than just talking about D3. But you have reading 11 for that. Don’t forget about a discussion for Discussion 11!
  • Tuesday, April 4 – Design Challenge 2, Phase 1. If you don’t turn it in on time, we can’t count it, since once you see the designs we’ll show in class (and the discussion in class), you’ll think about the problem differently.
  • Wednesday, April 5 – We’ll have an in-class discussion about Design Challenge 2, Phase 2 – I’ll show some designs that might open up your thinking. We’ll also play with some D3 examples so you can see what is going on under the hood.
  • Friday, April 7 – it’s Friday, so there is a Seek and Find and additional discussions due. No class.

Next week… multi-variate data.