U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Quantitative Models for User-Centered Visualization Systems

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Dr. Lane Harrison
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
In a world that is becoming increasingly data-driven, people rely on visualizations to make high-impact and even life-critical decisions. Because of this, there is a growing need to ensure that the information displayed in visualizations is perceived accurately and precisely. Although many off-the-shelf visualization tools exist, to date we have lacked a robust understanding of how much information the users of these tools can perceive and process. My research addresses this challenge by leveraging cognitive and perceptual principles to quantify and model user performance with visualizations, which has direct implications for visualization systems in critical domains such as cyber security and health-risk communication. In this talk, I'll begin by presenting a sample of the work on visualization systems I have developed for use by cyber security analysts, which help them perform complex tasks such as identifying anomalous connectivity patterns and managing vulnerabilities. I will then use these examples to motivate my current research on modeling perceptual precision using Weber's law to identify optimal visualizations, and quantifying the impact of cognitive factors such as emotion and spatial ability. I will close by describing how these findings can be used to drive visualization design, and how they can be used to support a new generation of user-centered visualization systems.
Speaker Bio

Lane Harrison is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Prior to joining WPI, Lane was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science at Tufts University. He obtained his Bachelor’s and PhD degrees in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, supported by a Department of Homeland Security Visual Analytics Fellowship for his work on designing visualization tools for cyber security data. In 2015 he served as general chair for the IEEE Visualization for Cyber Security (VizSec) Symposium, held in conjunction with the IEEE VIS Conference.

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