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ICS 280: Advanced Topics in Information Visualization

Instructor: Alfred Kobsa

General Educational Aims: This course will give students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with principles and systems for information visualization. Specific emphasis will be given to
- the critical discussion of the merits and demerits of various visualizations for multivariate data and for information hierarchies,
- the ease of users' interaction with these visualizations, and
- the recognition of commonalities between systems and of success factors.

Specific Objective:   At the conclusion of this course, students will
    - be familiar with major research systems for the visualization of multivariate data and information hierarchies
    - realize the importance of appropriate visualizations and the dangers of inappropriate visualizations
    - realize the importance of interaction aspects when evaluating visualizations
    - be familiar with several commercial applications
N.B.: This class does not deal with the visualization of time, graphs (except strict hierachies), and scientific visualization. It will concentrate on the visualization of multivariate data and of hierarchies.

Requirements: One of ICS 105, 186, 187, 205, 206, 227, 278 or 287 with a grade of B or better; otherwise consent of the instructor.

Character of the course: seminar with readings, presentations, software demonstrations, lots of discussion, and possibly a final essay.

Time and location: T Th 9:30-10:50 Rm 100 ICS2 (HCI Lab)


: Conference and journal articles collected in
     [CMS]:     Stuart K. Card, Jock D. Mackinlay and Ben Shneiderman, eds. (1999): Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think.
                      San Francisco, CA: Moran Kaufmann Publishers. ISBN 1558605339.
     [InfoVis]: Proceedings of the IEEE Symposia on Information Visualization
     [Ecomm]: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM conference on Electronic Commerce October 17 - 20, 2000, Minneapolis, MN USA
     [W]:         Colin Ware: Information Visualization: Perception for Design. Academic Press, ISBN 1-55860-511-8

     Robert Spence (2001): Information Visualization. Addison-Wesley and ACM Press.
     Chaomei Chen (1999): Information Visualisation and Virtual Environments. London, New York : Springer. ISBN 1852331364

Grading:  75% for 3 presentations (or 2 presentations and one essay)
          25% for in-class participation

Efficient reading: see here
Cheating: see

ICS Deadlines:  Adding this course: 3 weeks ??
                            Dropping this course: 6 weeks ??

Course Notes: click on individual topics below

Office hours: MW 2-3 my office (Rm. CS 430C). Contact me in class or send email beforehand.

Related courses:
280 Advanced Topics in Data Mining
205 Human-Computer Interaction

Course structure:
DateTopicDiscussion Chair Source
4/9Overview of Information Visualization I CMS, 1-27
4/11Overview of Information Visualization IISalvador Ledezma CMS, 1-27
4/16• D. Keim, H.-P. Kriegel: VisDB: Database Exploration Using Multidimensional Visualiz.
• D. Keim, Ming C. Hao, Umesh Dayal, Meichun Hsu: Pixel bar charts: a visualization technique for very large multi-attributes data sets
Jeff Ridenour

CMS 126-139

4/18C. Stolte, P. Hanrahan: Polaris: A System for Query, Analysis and Visualization of Multi-dimensional Relational DatabasesAndrew TrieuInfoVis'00 (here)
4/23A. Inselberg: Multidimensional DetectiveYimeng Dou CMS 107-114
4/25PBC Software (Java) [contact: mihael.ankerst at]Salvador Ledezma here
4/30No class (will give a visualization talk at Boeing)  

• R. Rao, S. Card: The Table Lens: Merging Graphical and Symbolic Representations in an Interactive Focus+Context Visualization for Tabular Information
• P. Pirolli, R. Rao: Table Lens as a Tool for Making Sense of Data
• Inxight Eureka Software (Windows; evaluation version limited to one month)

Daniel Loewus-Deitch CMS 343-349

CMS 597-615

InfoZoom Software (Windows; evaluation version limited to one month)

Andrew Trieu



• C. Ahlberg, B. Shneiderman: Visual Information Seeking: Tight Coupling of Dynamic Query Filters with Starfield Displays
• Spotfire Software

Jeff Ridenour

CMS 244-250
Software and manual in HCI Lab; contact me for access


• B. Johnson, B. Shneiderman: Tree-Maps: A Space-Filling Approach to the Visualization of Hierarchical Information Structures
• Treemap Software
• M. Baker, S. Eick: Space-Filling Software Visualization

Daniel Loewus-Deitch

CMS 152-159

CMS 160-182


• J. van Wijk, H. van de Wetering: Cushion Treemaps: Visualization of Hierarchical Information
• SequoiaView Software (Windows)
• E. Kleiberg, H. van de Wetering, J. van Wijk: Botanical Visualization of Huge Hierarchies

Yimeng Dou




• B. Sheiderman: Dynamic Queries for Visual Information Seeking
• S. Eick: Data Visualization Sliders
Yimeng Dou CMS 236-243
CMS 251-252
5/23• Demonstration of experiments

• H. Kumar, C. Plaisant, B. Shneiderman: Browsing Hierarchical Data with Multi-Level Dynamic Queries and Pruning

Justin Ho, Roger Chien
Seth Hettich

CMS 295-305


B. Bederson, J. Hollan: Pad++: A Zooming Graphical Interface for

Exploring Alternate Inteface Physics
Data Sonification

Daniel Loewus-Deitch
Jeff Ridenour

CMS 530-543


Applications and Implications

Seth Hettich

CMS 625-640

6/04No class (will be at NSF)  

E. Callahan, J. Koenemann: A Comparative Usability Evaluation of User Interfaces for Online Product Catalogs
Focus and Context in Text Documents

Andrew TrieuEC2000 (here)

(*) This article must only be read by the discussion chair, not by the whole class