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The Killam Lecture Series 2011: Visualizing Information

  • 14 Nov 2011
  • 7:00 PM
  • Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building, 6135 University Ave, Halifax, NS

The Killam Lecture Series 2011: Visualizing Information

Finding Knowledge in Massive Data


 John Stasko
Title: Analyzing Documents and Text Through Visualization
Date: Monday November 14, 7:00pm
Place: Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building, Dalhousie University 6135 University Avenue, Halifax
Admission: free
A wine and cheese reception will follow the lecture.

Whether investigators are fighting crime, curing diseases, deciding what car to buy, or researching a new field, inevitably they will encounter text documents. Unfortunately, plain (unstructured) text documents are difficult to analyze and understand, especially large collections of documents. The new field of visual analytics holds promise for helping investigators with such problems. 

Visual analytics combines computational data analysis with interactive visualization in the context of understanding how people think and reason. It can be particularly effective in situations when the data is large and unfamiliar, and the analyst must browse and explore to learn about a situation or domain. In this talk I will describe principles from the field, illustrating how visualizations help people make sense of data. 

Additionally, I will introduce the Jigsaw visual analytics system that helps investigators explore and understand collections of unstructured and semi-structured text documents. In essence, Jigsaw helps investigators "put the pieces together" and gain a deeper understanding of the contents of the documents. The system pairs computational text analysis with a collection of visualizations that each portray different aspects of the documents, including connections between entities.

John Stasko is a Professor in and the Associate Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty there in 1989 after receiving his Ph.D. in computer science from Brown University. Stasko directs the Information Interfaces Research Group (http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/ii) and is an internationally recognized researcher in the area of human-computer interaction, with a specific focus on information visualization and visual analytics. His research group develops ways to help people and organizations explore, analyze, understand, and make sense of data in order to solve problems.

Dr. Stasko has been Program Co-Chair for the 2005 and 2006 IEEE Information Visualization (InfoVis) Conferences, the 2009 IEEE Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Symposium, the 2003 ACM Symposium on Software Visualization (SoftVis), and the 2000 IEEE International Symposium on Visual Languages. 

He presently is or formerly has been on the editorial board of the journals ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, and Information Visualization.  Stasko presently serves on the Steering Committee for the IEEE Information Visualization Conference and the ACM Symposium on Software Visualization.


Dalhousie University's Dorothy J. Killam Memorial Lecture Series present important and topical issues with an aim to stimulate public support for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral research.  All are welcome to attend. The 2011 Killam Memorial Lectures are presented by the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie and sponsored by the Killam Trusts.

1301-1809 Barrington Street, Halifax, NS B3J 3K8

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