Visualizing big data: evidence and futures: Professor Nick Holliman, The Digital Institute, Newcastle University


Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 3:00pm


Phillips Auditorium / CfA 60 Garden Street, Cambridge

Visualization techniques, often including interactive methods, enable a viewer to gain an understanding of the key features within a set of data in order to facilitate decisions to be made and actions to be taken. As a process visualization has literally become about generating ideas in people’s heads efficiently and accurately.

Across all fields where it is collected, big data continues to expand in terms of the volume, variety and velocity of its content. This is both true in established fields such as astronomy and cosmology, and equally is true in emerging fields such as the Internet of Things. The scale of these data sets is challenging our ability to visualize them effectively using existing techniques.

We will present recently collected evidence on the effectiveness of stereoscopic visualizations of cosmological and astronomical data sets, this was undertaken using a quasi-experiment gathering one group pre-test post-test audience feedback. This showed that high quality TV sized displays are as effective as large projection displays in presenting stereoscopic visualizations to small groups.

We then look to the future of visualization for big data, and how the increase in data set size is leading to a need for new visualization techniques. We consider how the cloud computing infrastructure might support transformational new approaches to interactive, personalised visualization. We will argue that the cloud has the potential to provide unique capabilities not found in today’s client-side and web-based visualization applications.

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See also: Colloquium