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Shneiderman featured in Technology Review story on data visualization

ISR-affiliated Professor Ben Shneiderman (CS) is quoted in an MIT Technology Review story about IBM's social Internet website. Called Many Eyes, the site adds a social aspect to data visualizations like maps, network diagrams, and scatter plots. Already the site is being used by everyone from Bible researchers to college professors. Many Eyes teaches people how to build their own visualizations so they can dive into complex, multidimensional data. Since its launch in January, the site has amassed nearly 2,000 visualizations that illustrate, for example, the carbon emission of cars and the nutritional information of food on a McDonald's menu.

Shneiderman, a noted expert in information visualization, told the magazine that while the field isn't new, it has seen a rebirth in the past few years thanks to the availability of software tools that explore data sets, as well as the ubiquity of data sets themselves.

[Shneiderman's own software applications, TimeSearcher, Treemaps, and Hierarchial Cluster Explorer are good examples.]

"It's one of those things that after 15 years, it's an overnight success," Shneiderman said. He noted that recently data visualizations have gone from static charts commonly used in PowerPoint presentations to dynamic displays of multidimensional data. "Suddenly, we've been given a new eye to see things that we've never seen before."

| Read the story online at MIT Technology Review |

April 12, 2007

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