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Ben Shneiderman on visualizing data

Photo courtesy Government Computer News.
Photo courtesy Government Computer News.

Government Computer News recently interviewed ISR-affiliated Professor Ben Shneiderman (CS) about whether the use of computers is making people more visual.

Perhaps, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Shneiderman said. "Just look at the amazing phenomena of YouTube or Flickr. Thirty years ago, there were probably only a hundred studios in the country that could make a film. Now every kid with a laptop can make a film. People are encouraged to think visually that way. Radiology is transformed by the increased quality of the imagery. Social networks are another important area. There are four categories of these things where you’re seeing rapid change: temporal data, hierarchical data, network data and multidimensional data. The one that’s still a great struggle that we’re working on is socialnetwork visualization. That’s still more of a research topic."

Shneiderman is a worldwide expert in the relationship between people and computers, and founding director of the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Shneiderman is the author of more than 200 technical papers and several books, including Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies, which won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ 2003 award for distinguished literary contribution.

Read the entire interview on GCN's website.

January 23, 2008


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