Michael Brooks Attends VisWeek 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

By Michael Brooks

Michael Brooks is a PhD student in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE). He works with HCDE Professor Cecilia Aragon in the Scientific Collaboration and Creativity Laboratory. He recently wrote about his experience at VisWeek 2012, which was funded in part by HCDE.

This October I attended VisWeek 2012, the premiere conference on information visualization, visual analytics, and scientific visualization, which was held here in Seattle. With other members of Cecilia Aragon's directed research group on the role of emotion and affect in distributed cooperative work, I presented a poster at the workshop on Interactive Visual Text Analytics.

The focus of the workshop this year was task-driven analysis of social media. Researchers and practitioners in many domains increasingly have access to massive amounts of social media data, which is mostly text. Presentations and discussions at this workshop revolved around defining how and why people want to use interactive visualizations to drive analysis of this data. The poster we presented at the workshop contributed to the discussion by providing a set of visual analytics tasks we have developed out of our research. For example, visual analytics could be designed to support qualitative analysis processes on large, fragmented social media datasets.

Analysis of emotion, affect, and sentiment was a recurring theme at the conference. Several presentations in the workshop focused on visually-supported sentiment analysis in text. Mary Czerwinski's keynote presentation highlighted visualizations of affect and emotion and encouraged use of affect-based measures for evaluating novel visualizations.

This was my first time attending VisWeek, and it definitely made an impression. The variety and importance of the work presented at the conference was inspiring. My research is increasingly focusing on visual analytics, so I look forward to returning next year!