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TreeViz (ISR IP)

ISR intellectual property available to license

Inventors
Brian Scott Johnson, Ben Shneiderman

Description
The first of a new generation of information visualization tools was recently developed by the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland at College Park. After two years of development, the algorithms that permit color presentation of hierarchical structures have now been converted into a program for viewing all of the files and directories on a Macintosh hard disk.

Each file appears as a rectangle whose size is proportional to the file size, enabling users to spot large files at any level in the hierarchy. TreeViz™ uses color to show file type, e.g. text, picture, application, etc. By pointing and clicking a rectangle, TreeViz™ users can access detailed information about nodes such as filename, path, creation date, etc.

Other options include sound, which offers an additional dimension of data revelation. Users can hear the directories and files as they are displayed or hear patterns by dragging the mouse. Various scaling factors, nesting offsets, depth controls, shape adjustments, shading, and size controls complete the list of TreeViz™ features.

The original concept for TreeViz™ was developed by Ben Shneiderman, Professor of Computer Science, in response to the common problem of a filled hard disk. Since the hard disk in the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory was shared by 14 users, it was difficult to determine how and where space was used. Finding large files that could be deleted, or even determining which users consumed the largest shares of disk space, were difficult tasks. Finding an effective visualization strategy took only a few months; but producing a working piece of software took over a year. Brian Johnson implemented the algorithms and refined the presentation strategies while preserving rapid performance even with 5,000 node hierarchies.

System Requirements
The TreeViz™ application runs on all color Macintosh models.

For more information
If you would like to license this intellectual property, have questions, would like to contact the inventors, or need more information, contact ISR External Relations Director Jeff Coriale at coriale@umd.edu or 301.405.6604.

Find more ISR IP
You can go to our categorical IP search page to search by research category or faculty name. Or view the entire list of available IP on our complete IP list.

ISR-IP-Shneiderman ISR-IP-TreeViz ISR-IP-HCIL ISR-IP-software ISR-IP-datamining

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June 15, 2007


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For more information, contact ISR External Relations Director
Jeff Coriale at coriale@umd.edu or 301.405.6604.

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