IDC Seminar (20 Oct) – by Nicolai Marquardt from UCL (TBC)

October 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

IDC seminar (13 Oct) – Two talks by Phong and Varshita

October 13, 2015 at 10:11 am

Talk 1: SensePath – Understanding the Sensemaking Process through Analytic Provenance


Sensemaking is described as the process of comprehension, finding meaning and gaining insight from information, producing new knowledge and informing further action. Understanding the sensemaking process allows building effective visual analytics tools to make sense of large and complex datasets. Currently, it is often a manual and time-consuming undertaking to comprehend this: researchers collect observation data, transcribe screen capture videos and think-aloud recordings, identify recurring patterns, and eventually abstract the sensemaking process into a general model. In this talk, I will propose a general approach to facilitate such a qualitative analysis process, introduce a prototype, SensePath, to demonstrate the application of this approach with a focus on browser-based online sensemaking, and present our findings from a preliminary evaluation of the tool.


Phong Nguyen is currently doing his PhD in the Interaction Design Centre at Middlesex University. His research interests include visual analytics, information visualization, with a focus on understanding and supporting the sensemaking process using analytic provenance.

Talk 2: An Empirical study on Perception of Correlation using Scatter Plots

varshitaScatter plots have been in use for over many centuries now but lacks the knowledge of metrics underlying their perception by humans. In this study we empirically assess user performance of estimating correlation in scatter plots for different factors and report whether there is a significant difference and/or relation in the subjective and objective correlation values in relation to different correlation indices, data distribution, symmetry of data enclosure, and number of data points used to plot it. The results suggest that error rates vary in relation to all these factors and condemn the existence of a single linear or non-linear regression pattern to which the human perception of statistical correlation would conform. Even for a set of consistent geometric enclosure such as ellipse itself, the error rate do not conform to a straight line,and thus the possibility of leveraging any perceptual models, such as Weber’s law, to evaluate correlation “accuracy” and “precision” is invalid. These finding are significant in that they are new and publishable and falsifies the conclusion of a recent journal paper where the authors might be misled by the accidental patterns resulting from insufficient sampling of a key experimental variable. Lastly, we also establish that as standalone quantities, both human perception as well as the statistical indicator of correlation are unreliable and need to be considered as a ‘married couple’ which complement each other.



Intern: Varshita Sher

October 7, 2015 at 10:29 am

varshitaVarshita is a recent graduate from University of Oxford where she was studying Master’s in Computer Science. She earned her undergraduate degree (Bachelors of Science (Honours)) in the same field from University of Delhi, India before moving to U.K. to pursue her masters. Her Master’s research combined psychology with Visual Analytics to question the stability of mathematical models (such as Weber’s law) that quantify human perception.

Her interests include focusing on pan-sector research areas to render visualizations that are more self-explanatory and efficient in context of Big Data along with paying close attention to the social, ethical and legal issues associated with it. She is currently collaborating with Middlesex University where she is serving as a Research Assistant on the project VALCRI (Visual Analytics for sense-making in Criminal Intelligence analysis), post which she will start working on the publication of her paper based on the Master’s thesis which earned her a distinction.

IDC Seminar (22 Sep) Understanding Customer’s Preferences and Expectations within the POSEIDON Project

September 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

Prof. Juan Augusto, Department of Computer Science, Middlesex University

juan-augustoThe POSEIDON project is funded by the EC to investigate ways to support independence for people with Down’s Syndrome. The project is now entering its final year and during the previous two years we have interacted with families of people with Down’s Syndrome. This talk will  cover our findings and how their input has helped our consortium to shape the products we are developing.

Presentation slides

IDC Seminar (16 Sep) – How to create interactive visualization software – joining aspects of Interaction Design and Software Engineering (C209)

September 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

Dr. Jens Gulden,

Assistant professor in Information Systems at University of Duisburg-Essen

Interactive visualizations are growingly demanded for gaining meaningful insight into more and more available data. Research in the fields of interaction design and others has resulted in reflections on visualization principles and design guidelines for making information visually accessible to humans in a cognitively efficient way. It is highly desirable to incorporate this knowledge into the design of software systems and they interaction capabilities with human users.

However, current realizations of interactive visualizations available as executable software components, e. g., as part of business intelligence reporting systems, or as Flash-objects embedded in a web page, require time-consuming and costly software development efforts. This is because every new visualization has to be created using low-level generic programming languages that control the graphical rendering, e. g., ActionScript for Flash-objects, or JavaScript for dynamic HTML.

To examine an approach which significantly reduces this development effort, the presentation sketches the idea of identifying general principles for designing interactive visualisation software, and abstracting them to formal concepts that can be expressed as a model. From such a model, implementations of software components that provide appropriate rendering capabilities and navigation functionality can be (semi-)automatically derived using known model-driven software development techniques.

Presentation slides

About the speaker

Dr Jens Gulden has graduated in Information Systems and Philosophy. Since 2013, he fills the position of an assistant professor in Information Systems at University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Before this, he was affiliated with Free University Berlin, Technical University Berlin, and others. His research covers methodologies for innovative development and management of socio-technical systems, including conceptual modelling and domain-specific modelling language design, with a strong focus on visually expressing knowledge using diagrams and other forms of non-linguistic means of expression.