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The format of the course will contain lectures by the instructor, group discussions of papers, and student presentations of papers. Students will be evaluated by the quality of their in-class participation, assignments, paper presentations, and class projects. This course consists of a mixture of individual and group work. Students will work in teams of three or four to complete a term-long class project. In addition, students will work individually on a set of programming expertise related to visualization and analysis, weekly paper reading and reviews, as well as a seminar of paper presentation and discussion.

The grading components of the course include:

10%Participation and preparation (individual)
15%Visualization design exercises (individual)
15%Micro Paper Reviews (individual)
15%Paper presentation seminar (individual)
45%Class project (group)

Students’ work will be graded based on a 10-point scale, summed and rescaled based on the below weights, where in general 0 = not participate, 2 = poor, 5 = fair, 8 = good, 10 = excellent.

Participation and Preparation

Attendance, team building, and in-class activities such as group discussion, paper critiques, and feedback to other students’ work. Students are required to attend every class and actively participate in discussions. As a rule of thumb, you are expected to contribute to class discussion at least two times each class: ask a question, comment on a topic, clarify a point, etc. Your attendance and participation level will be recorded during the class.

Students must form teams at the beginning of the term. Use Slack to find teammates. After finalizing a team, designate one person from the team to submit this Project Team Information form. In the end of the term, students are required to complete a Team Peer Evaluation form to provide their individual perspectives on the teamwork and their teammates. The responses may be used for adjusting individual marks based on the final team marks.

Visualization Design Exercises

Six (6) programming exercises for creating visualizations and data analysis pipelines using Javascript and/or Python. Each of the visualization design exercises will have one or more objectives that you must write code to solve. You will use popular data visualization and analysis toolkits such as D3, Matplotlib, and scikit-learn. In addition to submitting final code, you will need to include a very short solution description (less than 500 words) explaining what you did, what was hard, and an annotated list of the main resource(s) you used (blog posts, online tutorials, stackoverflow posts, papers, textbooks, etc.). The

Each exercise is graded using the following marking scheme:

5 marksquality and degree of completion of code implementation
5 marksquality and clarity of solution description and documentation

Submit your code, data, and solution description in a single zip file, named [your last name]_[your student ID]_VD[n].zip, to the corresponding LEARN Dropbox by the posted deadlines.

Micro Paper Reviews

Eight (8) weekly reading assignments of papers provided by the instructor. You will be required to submit micro reviews (less than 500 words each) for the assigned papers every week with a predefined template. You are also recommended to read other papers on the list to get yourself more familiar with the week’s topic. A micro paper review must include four parts:

  1. Summary: One or two sentences to summarize the paper’s key contributions.
  2. Strengths: Two or three specific strengths of the paper.
  3. Weaknesses: Two or three specific weaknesses of the paper.
  4. Future work: One or two sentences to state any work that could be done to extend or build on this.

You should consider the following aspects when writing your micro reviews:

  • Be specific and provide details.
  • Do not simply paraphrase the paper content: your goal is to demonstrate your read the paper and thought about it.
  • Do not comment on the quality of writing or paper presentation: your goal is to focus on the research described in the paper.
  • Use grammatically correct English writing.

Each micro paper review is graded using the following marking scheme:

3 marksstyle and grammar
7 marksquality of content (addressing each aspect well)

Submit your micro paper reviews as PDF files with a predefined template, named [your last name]_[your student ID]_MR[n].pdf, to under the appropriate directory in this shared folder by the posted deadlines. All micro reviews will be made public to the class to foster discussions.

Paper Presentation Seminar

One (1) seminar of presenting and discussing self-selected papers from the reading lists provided by the instructor. Each student will be designated to present one assigned paper during one week of the class. In particular, the presentation needs to clearly demonstrate the motivation, methodology, and results of the paper. More importantly, you need to use the paper content and examples as a way to introduce and address problems beyond the papers, related to the week’s topic and other papers in the reading list. You should consider the following questions:`

  • What is the problem area? What is the relevant background? Why do we care?
  • What is the idea and what are the key contributions of this paper?
  • What are the key related work of this paper? What are the differences and similarities?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the paper?
  • What is the core technique and idea?
  • What are potential extensions and future work?

In addition, you will be responsible for answering questions regarding the papers and leading a discussion after the presentation. You will have access to all others’ micro reviews at least 24 hours before the class, so budget some time to read through them, summarize the responses. You are encouraged to call on individuals in the class during the discussion to expand or justify their responses. You will have to manage the class, by keeping people on topic, encouraging everyone to speak, and making sure the discussion is not dominated by a few people. The whole seminar lasts about 25 minutes for each paper, roughly 15 minutes for the paper presentation and 10 minutes for the discussion.

3 markslength and delivery (clear speaking, clear slides)
4 markspaper presentation (more critique than summary with relevant and insightful comments)
3 marksleading discussion (prepared questions, reading others’ summaries, class management)

Students must fill in the Paper Presentation Schedule form at the beginning of the class, to select which papers they will present for the seminars.

Class Project

One (1) term-long research project on designing, developing, and evaluating new visualization techniques. Each team will need to complete a class project on a topic approved by the instructor. You are recommended to do the project from the given list of broad topics. You can also propose a visualization project that is relevant to your own research and background, based upon an agreement with the instructor. You need the instructor’s approval to work individually (i.e., not in a team) on a class project.

The class project will be split into different stages as the following:

5%Project proposal
5%Literature survey
5%Proposed design
5%Mid-class project presentation
5%Final project presentation
20%Final paper and video demo

All writings must be in the IEEE TVCG format. Moreover, as a group assignment, describe briefly what each team member contributes to the overall assignment (e.g., roles and task distributions; not necessarily everyone has to contribute to the writing) in the Acknowledgement part of the deliverables.

Submit your writing, slides, or video, named [team member last names or a cool project name]_[deliverable name].[pdf or pptx or mp4], to the corresponding LEARN Dropbox by the posted deadlines.

Project Proposal

You should start thinking about your project early. The idea should be non-trivial and have some level of novelty, e.g., designing new visualization techniques, creating a new data processing pipeline for visualization, applying visualizations to a new problem, domain, or dataset. You are encouraged to talk to the instructor before finalizing the topic. You will write a brief proposal (1 to 2 pages) that outlines your project idea. The proposal must have a title, an abstract, an Introduction section, a Proposed Solution section, as well as several key references.

  • Title: The title should be catchy, short, and descriptive.
  • Abstract: The abstract should be less than 150 words and summarize your paper, including contributions, approach, and results. You could use the following template: 1) context and background (1 sentence), 2) challenges and problems to solve (1 sentence), 3) your proposed approach and main contributions (1-3 sentences), and 4) expected results (1-2 sentences).
  • Introduction: The goal of the introduction is to provide the context, deliver the motivation, summarize the paper, basically, why do you do it, and how? You could use this template: 1) provide the background or context of the research and present the unaddressed research problems or questions (1 paragraph), 2) summarize a few key relevant work and why they do not work for your problem (1 paragraph), 3) describe your approach and how it addresses the problem (1-2 paragraphs), and 4) list 1-3 key contributions of the paper (1 paragraph).
  • Proposed Solution: This section describes the high level technical approach and/or design, languages/libraries/toolkits you plan to use, and how you will address the research questions or problems using the technical approach. Try to be as detailed as possible and include sketches or figures if it makes explaining your approach easier.

The marking scheme is:

3 marksstyle (academic writing style, correct grammar, formatting)
7 marksquality of content (completion of all sections, clarity of description)

Literature Survey

You will revise the Project Proposal and add a Related Work section before the Proposed Solution section with a full literature review. The literature review should include scholarly articles, industry and trade articles (as appropriate), books and magazines, and a review of existing products (where applicable). As a general rule of thumb, you should survey at least 15 related references. You need to summarize each related work concisely and emphasize the differences or novelty of your idea. A final literature review usually occupies one page in a conference paper (not counting the reference list).

You want your literature survey to:

  • Be comprehensive in breadth and depth and related theories have been investigated;
  • Point out aspects of the problem space that have not been solved or examined in detail;
  • Distinguish your work from the state of the art and emphasize the novelty.

The marking scheme is:

3 marksstyle (academic writing style, correct grammar, formatting)
7 marksquality of content (completion of all sections, clarity of description, adequate related work)

Proposed Design

You will further revise the paper in the last stage, and extend the Proposed Solution section with more details, including the data processing pipeline, visual representations, and interaction design. You are encouraged to provide diagrams, sketches, and mockups in the paper to demonstrate your solution. The whole document should be around 4 to 6 pages, including references. Figures will be necessary to explain this clearly.

  • The data processing pipeline describes how you process the raw data to extract useful information for your visualization to solve the problem as well as provides a high-level overview of your system data flow and architecture.
  • The visual representations demonstrate your visual design based on the processed data, for example, the main views of your system, how the extracted information is encoded visually, etc. Basically, it describes the static aspect of your approach.
  • The interaction design illustrates user interactions on your visualization such as how a user manipulates the views and visual representations to gain knowledge. Basically, it describes the dynamic aspect of your approach.

The marking scheme is:

3 marksstyle (academic writing style, correct grammar, formatting)
7 marksquality of content (completion of all sections, clarity of description, sufficient details)

Project Presentations

You will present your work in class, answer questions, and get feedback from other students. You will need to do two presentations: one in the middle and the other in the end of the class. Each presentation session is limited to a 10-minute talk and a 5-minute Q & A, in total, 15 minutes maximum.

  • Mid-class Presentation: You will need to present your progress of the class project, including the motivation, problem, key related work, and preliminary design idea. The main purpose of this presentation is to get early feedback from the class and the instructor.
  • Final Presentation: You will need to give a more thorough talk about the your project, including the motivation, problem, key related work, proposed design, and initial evaluation (optional) of the project. The final presentation must include a video or live demo of a working prototype (i.e., not a mockup).

The marking scheme is:

3 markslength and delivery (clear speaking, clear slides)
4 marksproject presentation (all aspects included, questions answered)
3 marksquality of idea or demo/video (complete and clear)

Final Paper and Video Demo

You will write an academic paper (8 to 10 pages, including references) that describes the entire class project in detail. You will revise the work in previous stages, and add three sections including Example Use Cases/ Initial Evaluation, Discussion, and Future Work. The ideal final paper should be in a quality that is ready to submit to a conference. In addition, you will need to submit a final video (less than 5 minutes) to demonstrate your project. The video will be made public on YouTube or the class website.

  • Example Use Cases/ Initial Evaluation: Example use cases demonstrate a detailed walkthrough of your approach that is applied to real-world datasets for solving the proposed problem. This normally includes steps of interacting with the system and obtaining information for decision making. Figures illustrating the key steps are necessary. An initial evaluation can be interviews or trial studies with real target users. This often reports the procedure and results of this evaluation, including who the users are, how you perform the evaluation, what the users’ tasks are, as well as the users’ actions, impression, and feedback on your system or technique.
  • Discussion: This reflects on what was done, implications for designers and researchers, some issues or problems encountered in the evaluation, and limitations of the approach. This section is your chance to reflect on any lessons learned.
  • Future Work: This presents advice and directions for others doing work similar to your project, suggesting how things could be improved or better.

The marking scheme is:

2 markstyle (academic writing style, correct grammar, formatting)
6 marksquality of content (completion of all sections, clarity of description, sufficient details)
2 marksquality of video (compete and clear)

Copyright © 2021 Jian Zhao.