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Speaker: Professor Tamara Munzner, Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia
Dimensionality Reduction From Several Angles
I will present five past and current projects that attack the problem of dimensionality reduction (DR) from quite different methodological angles. Two projects nicely fit into the usual mold of technique-driven work on algorithms for DR. Glimmer is a multilevel multidimensional scaling (MDS) algorithm that exploits the GPU. Glint is a new MDS framework that achieves high performance on costly distance functions. In contrast, the DimStiller project is a foray into systems rather than algorithms, built around the idea of "DR for the rest of us". It is a toolkit for DR that provides local and global guidance to users who may not be experts in the mathematics of high-dimensional data analysis. A third kind of project combines evaluation and the creation of taxonomies. Our recent taxonomy of visual cluster separation factors arose from the systematic qualitative examination of over 800 scatterplots of dimensionally reduced data, and includes an analysis of the reasons for failure of previous cluster separation metrics. I will also discuss the current work of a task taxonomy that is grounded in a two-year qualitative study of high-dimensional data analysts in many domains, to discover how the use of DR "in the wild" does and does not match up with the assumptions that underlie previous algorithmic work.
Tamara Munzner is a professor at the University of British Columbia Department of Computer Science, where she has been since 2002. She was a research scientist from 2000 to 2002 at the Compaq Systems Research Center in California, earned her PhD from Stanford between 1995 and 2000, and was a technical staff member at the Geometry Center mathematical visualization research group from 1991 to 1995. Tamara was InfoVis Co-Chair in 2003 and 2004 and EuroVis Co-Chair in 2009 and 2010. Her research interests include the development, evaluation, and characterization of information visualization systems and techniques from both user-driven and technique-driven perspectives. She has worked on visualization projects in a broad range of application domains, including evolutionary biology, microbiology, topology, computational linguistics, large-scale system administration, web site design, and web log analysis.