2006-12-06: Is There Science in Visualization?

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Moderator: T.J. Jankun-Kelly
Panelists: Robert Kosara, Gordon Kindlmann, Chris North, Colin Ware, and E. Wes Bethel

The field of visualization is at a crossroads. Advances in computer graphics technology and computing power have enabled the development of visualization techniques that have had a positive impact on medicine, computational science, bioinformatics, and finance. However, this focus on transitional efforts has not sufficiently addressed the basic science needed to create universal, validated principles on which to ground future visualization efforts. Without such principles, visualization risks becoming a niche or service field concerned only with iterative refinement of new and existing methods. Rigorous study of the science behind visualization systems could enrich existing efforts and suggest novel applications based upon predictive theories. With several recent calls to investigate visualization principles, now is the time to consider what is a science of visualization.
The purpose of the panel is to (1) assess whether a science of visualization is necessary and (2) discuss what is needed for such a science. We seek to discover the tools we need in order to examine why and how visualizations work. The panelists present different approaches to visualization science, from foundational theories to issues of practicality. The goal of this panel is to spark discussion about the need for a science of visualization and the real world barriers to its acceptance and adoption.
[Jankun-Kelly, 2006]


  • [Jankun-Kelly, 2006] T.J. Jankun-Kelly, Robert Kosara, Gordon Kindlmann, Chris North, Colin Ware, and E. Wes Bethel, Panel: Is There Science in Visualization?, IEEE Visualization 2006 Compendium, IEEE Computer Society Press, October 2006.