Innovations in Visualization

InfoVis 683: Discussion of Week 8 Readings (Oct 31, 2011)

Readings Assigned: Temporal data

  1. Artifacts of the Presence Era: Using Information Visualization to Create an Evocative Souvenir. Fernanda Viegas, Ethan Perry, Ethan Howe, Judith Donath. In the proceedings of the IEEE symposium of Information Visualization, InfoVis’04. InfoVis 2004, in Austin, TX.
  2. Plaisant, P. and Rose, A. (March 1996). Exploring LifeLines to Visualize Patient Records. A short version of this report appeared as a poster summary in 1996 American Medical Informatic Association Annual Fall Symposium (Washington, DC, Oct. 26-30, 1996), pp. 884, AMIA, Bethesda MD. HCIL-96-04, CS-TR-3620, CAR-TR-819
  3. Martin Wattenberg. Arc Diagrams: Visualizing Structure in Strings. In Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization, IEEE Computer Science Press 2002.

Arc Diagrams: Visualizing Structure in Strings

by Martin Wattenberg

Summary by Mohammad Albaba

The main point of the paper as stated by the author is to propose a new visualization method that is capable of capturing complicated repetition patterns in strings. The method basically connects repeated sub-sequences of strings by arcs. Despite its simplicity, the concept of arc diagrams can be harnessed in a multitude of applications such as spotting repetition patterns in musical compositions, DNA and code to name a few.

Some of the participants believed the main point of the paper is proposing a new method for visualizing musical patterns. In other words, using arc diagrams transform music from being an activity that is solely enjoyed by listening to one that is joyous by both listening and seeing.

Practical applications of arc diagrams can span multiple areas. One area is discovering DNA structure similarity between different persons. Another area is source code analysis. For example, an arc diagram can be established between repetitive sequences of method calls to reveal structural patterns and give some insight about code sections that might need to be updated together. Arc diagrams can be also used to visualize poetry and the corresponding repetitive patterns.

The discussion also addressed how arc diagrams can be improved further. One improvement is the inclusion of interactions with these diagrams such as coloring, filtering, emphasizing, de-emphasizing and so on since the current arc diagrams are static and allow no room for such interactions. Another area of improvement is to handle the occlusion created when there is a large bunch of overlapping arcs.