Making Visualization Work – Ben Bederson (University of Maryland)

October 11, 2005 all-day

View Seminar Video
The human visual system is incredibly powerful. Many people have tried to create computer systems that present information visually to take advantage of that power. The potential is great – for tasks ranging from detecting patterns and outliers to quickly browsing and comparing large datasets. And yet, the number of successful visualization programs that we use today is limited. In this talk, I will discuss common problems with visualizations, and how several approaches that we have developed avoid those problems. By applying Zoomable User Interfaces, Fisheye distortion, carefully controlled animation, and working closely with users, we have created a range of applications which we have shown to have significant benefits. I will show demos from application domains including photos, trees, graphs, and even digital libraries. To build these visualizations, we have built Piccolo, a general open source toolkit available in Java and C#. It offers a hierarchical scene graph in the same style that many 3D toolkits offer – but for 2D visualization. By offering support for graphical objects, efficient rendering, animation, event handling, etc., we Piccolo can reduce the effort in building complex visual applications with minimal run-time expense. In this talk, I will also discuss Piccolo, alternative approaches to building visualizations – and the computational expense of using Piccolo.

Benjamin B. Bederson is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. His work is on information visualization, interaction strategies, digital libraries, and accessibility issues such as voting system usability.

Center for Language and Speech Processing