Cambridge University Design / UX group

Ben Fry – “Exploring the role of visualisation in research”


A bit last minute, but Ben Fry is giving a talk over at Microsoft Research (on JJ Thompson Ave, just off Madingley Rd… you can take the Uni 4 bus there) this Thursday, at 11am. The large lecture theatre there has 126 seats, so lots of space – no need to register, I am assured: just turn up.

I think this talk is part of the Joined-Up Ecology seminar, which is running this week. From the abstract, this talk looks really interesting, and although it doesn’t mention ecology, it does mention data visualisation, design, and bringing together disparate approaches…

The ability to collect and store data continues to increase, but our ability to understand it remains unchanged. In an attempt to gain better understanding of data, fields such as information visualization, data mining and graphic design are employed, each solving an isolated part of the specific problem, but failing in a broader sense: there are still too many unsolved data visualization problems. As a solution, I seek to bring the individual fields together as part of a single process.

I’ll be showing examples of work developed as part of my Ph.D. dissertation at the MIT Media Laboratory, as a postdoc at the Eli & Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, and now as Director of Seed Visualization and its Phyllotaxis Lab. The work ranges from illustrations of data for magazines and journals to software tools used by geneticists to interactive database applications for Fortune 10 corporations.

This talk is on Talks.cam: http://talks.cam.ac.uk/talk/index/18016

I will aim to get to it and take some notes, so there should be some sort of review on here, if you can’t make it there yourself. If you want to know more about Ben Fry (who has a background in graphic design and computer science), there is a pretty good interview available online.

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