838-Only Assignment: Vis Research

by Mike Gleicher on January 23, 2015

Due date:  before Tuesday, February 3 (for the initial posting; 11:59pm 2/2)

Note: because the posting for this assignment was not well advertised, we will give everyone a no-cost extension until Friday 2/6 for their initial posting.

Turn-in link: Vis Research‘ on Canvas

Note: this is assignment is required for CS838 students. If you’re a 638 student you’re welcome to do it. If you’d like to participate in one of the discussion groups, ask Alper and he’ll add you to one of them.

The goal of this assignment is to give you a sense of what current visualization research is. What are people writing about, talking about, …

Looking at the content of recent papers is one way to get at this – it’s an imperfect sampling, but I have no better idea how to do this kind of an exercise in an efficient way.

Fortunately, for Vis there is a “premiere” venue. As in most of Computer Science, the premiere venue is a conference, and for Vis, there is a clear one. Although, its actually 3 conferences that are all co-located and connected. This is not to say that all good vis research appears in this venue. (there are other good venues, and this is just the “CS research” style work).

The conference is the “IEEE Visualization Week” (VisWeek). It has 3 sub conferences: Scientific Visualization, Information Visualization, and Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST).

What I’d like you to do is to browse through the contents. In the old days, this would have meant getting your hands on a physical proceedings and flipping through it. This works really well, since you not only see all the titles, you can see if there are pictures that catch your eye. In the new era, we’re stuck with “browsing” in the online library, which is not great for this “scan and get a feel” kind of task. (hey – this could be a vis problem!)

So: pick at least one recent year (2014 or 2013). Read through all the titles for all 3 sub-parts. Read through at least some of the abstracts for each venue. Look at some of the papers that catch your eye (I’m not expecting you to read them – just skim the pictures, ..) Some papers have demo videos.

The goal here is not to read any papers, but to get a sense of what topics there are, and to see what interests you.

In a posting in the discussion, please:

  1. give me a brief (maybe a sentence or two) idea of what your process was – this is somewhat optional, its mainly for our curiosity to see how people do this
  2. give a list of 3-5 papers that would be the top of your “I think I’d like to read that” list
  3. for each of the venues (SciVis, InfoVis, VAST), describe one or two major themes you see  (something that is more than just one paper)
  4. if there’s anything you find particularly interesting about what you encountered (topics you’re surprised to see – or surprised not to see, other trends, …) describe it briefly
  5. of course, this is open ended, so we’re also curious about whatever you want to tell us about what you’ve gotten out of the exercise

The resources for doing this:

  • List of Paper Sessions at VIS 2014 (official). Has links to video previews and the IEEE library pages (note: use the UW library proxy service to access the IEEE library papers)
  • Unofficial list, but has a pretty good set of links for all 3 venues for 2013
  • IEEE Library page for the journal edition of most of the papers (it’s missing about half the VAST papers – including mine!)
  • UW Library EZ Proxy (if you need to access the digital library from off campus) – the bookmarklet is really handy!
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