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CS889 Information Visualization


Dr. Jian Zhao, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science



Office hours

Online, by appointment only

When and Where

Wednesdays 10am-12:30pm, online remote

Course Communication

Slack: for announcements, most questions, access to class materials, private team chat, etc. link

Zoom: for class meetings, office hours, and student presentations. link


  • If you want to apply for a permission number to enroll the course, please fill in this form.
  • Please let the instructor know immediately if you do not receive an invitation to the class Slack workspace within the first week.


The huge amount of data that we are continuously generating in different domains possesses incredible opportunities for us to understand the world. Information Visualization is a powerful means to amplify human cognition of abstract data with interactive visual representations. In this graduate course, students will get an overview of state-of-the-art research in Information Visualization, and learn how to design, develop, and evaluate visualization techniques for solving real-world data problems. Also, students will gain hands-on experience in prototyping visualization designs with HTML, JavaScript, and D3.

This course will cover topics in both theoretical foundations and practical techniques in visualization, such as human perception and cognition, design methods and principles, data representations and transformations, as well as visualization techniques for specific data types and applications.

For more details, please see the course information (for marking scheme and graded components) and course schedule (for readings, seminars, exercises, and project deadlines). Also check the resources page for useful materials.

Course Policies

Participation and Late Panelties

Students are required to attend all the classes, and participation grade will be partially based on how many classes are missed. However, special situations can be accommodated (e.g., academic travel, illness, and emergencies). Students must notify the instructor regarding their absence and provide the necessary justification. Moreover, students must inform the instructor if they have to miss a deadline for such special situations. For other cases, the general policy is that late work will be deducted 10% of the total marks per calendar day late. The instructor reserves the right to accept late work or not.

Academic Integrity

In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. [Check the Office of Academic Integrity for more information.


A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4. When in doubt, please be certain to contact the department’s administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.


A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. Check the Office of Academic Integrity for more information. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate associate dean. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline. For typical penalties, check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties.


A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances (other than a petition) or Policy 71, Student Discipline may be appealed if there is a ground. A student who believes he/she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72, Student Appeals.

Note for Students with Disabilities

AccessAbility Services, located in Needles Hall, Room 1401, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with AccessAbility Services at the beginning of each academic term.

Copyright © 2021 Jian Zhao.