2007-04-19: Funded PhD position in InfoVis at Napier University, Edinburgh, UK

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Napier University, Edinburgh, UK have an opportunity for a funded (approx £12,300 p.a. [1] tax-free plus EU fees) PhD in the field of Information Visualisation.

Full Text available from [2]

PhD Title: Knowledge discovery in information visualisation

This studentship offers the opportunity to work on creating and assessing novel techniques in the field of information visualisation. The PhD student will benefit from being associated with an EPSRC funded research project, Visualisation Tools for Integrating Large Alternative Linnaean Taxonomies which commenced in May 2006. This project is a multidisciplinary project working with taxonomists and ecologists from the Universities of Kansas and North Carolina and with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. In this EPSRC project we will create and develop techniques that graphically show taxonomic hierarchies and their associated relationships, to allow taxonomists to intuitively interact with and query the data. This should allow taxonomists to focus on the questions they need to ask of the data and the answers that are returned, rather than the process of how to ask the questions or how to cope with untangling the relationships of the information that they are faced with.

The PhD student will be working on identifying and assessing existing and novel techniques and methods in information visualisation. Two topical areas related to our current work are the extension of overlapping tree visualisation techniques to overlapping graph structures, and the issues involved in communicating the process of knowledge discovery made through visual means to synchronous or asynchronous collaborators. These topics will provide an opportunity to explore the emerging field of Visual Analytics an emerging area for research funding in the USA and which is to be promoted to the UK research councils.

Research into overlapping graph visualisation would investigate the problem of visually interacting with dynamic or historical snapshots of network structures. Graph visualisation is an area with many challenges even for single structures; the problems involved in usable representations of multiple graphs will be of a magnitude higher still. Graph structures are found in many application domains and are particularly timely with the increase in the semantic web which could be considered an enormous graph or for many purposes, multiple overlapping graphs that users may wish to compare. The communication of knowledge discovery made through visualisation interfaces will explore methods to store, analyse and transmit knowledge discovered through exploratory data analysis. This discourse must be constructed in such a manner to divulge the interactive process that led to that discovery - to reveal to others not only what knowledge was found, but how that knowledge was arrived at. This requirement has arisen in several of our research projects and could also be extended to knowledge finding on the web.

Applications forms can be downloaded from: [3]

Applications should be sent to Caroline Graham, The Graduate School, Napier University, Merchiston Campus, Edinburgh EH10 5DJ or emailed to [c.graham@napier.ac.uk] Please also include a completed “Supplementary Personal Information Form” obtainable from: [4] and “Tuition Fee Classification Questionnaire” obtainable from: [5]

Please quote the reference number of the studentship you are applying for. The closing date for all studentships is 20 April 2007 (but see #Notes) Please note only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Further information on the School of Computing is available from the School of Computing Web site: [6]

Information for Research Students: [7]

SoC Research Student Handbook (includes research regulations) [8]

Information about the supervisors for the PhD: Prof. Jessie Kennedy: [9] Dr Martin Graham: [10]


  • Contact either myself (Martin) or Jessie and we'll accept applications until the 27th April
  • non-EU [11] students will need to pay the full fees (approx £8,000 a year) - which essentially cancels out the majority of the stipend
  • Non-UK students will typically be interviewed by telephone