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Keynote Lectures

Virtual Pets and Avatars - Simulation, Interaction, and Emergent Ecosystems
Jeffrey Ventrella, Visual Music Systems, United States

Interactive Visualization for Cultural Heritage - Current Capabilities and Open Issues
Roberto Scopigno, Visual Computing Lab, CNR-ISTI, Italy

Re-inventing and Re-implementing the Wheel - Visualization Component Reuse in a Large Enterprise
Frank van Ham, IBM Software Group, United Kingdom

Parallel Coordinates - Breaching 3-D and Onward to BIG DATA
Alfred Inselberg, Tel Aviv University, Israel


Virtual Pets and Avatars - Simulation, Interaction, and Emergent Ecosystems

Jeffrey Ventrella
Visual Music Systems
United States

Brief Bio

Jeffrey Ventrella is an innovator in realtime interactive computer animation. In the late 80's he developed scientific data visualizations at Syracuse University. He graduated from the MIT Media Lab in the mid 90's and has since worked primarily in the San Francisco Bay area with several startup companies. He co-founded the virtual world company, and also worked on avatars for Second Life. He invented the "flexi-prims" for Second Life. 

 Jeffrey has taught courses at UC San Diego, Tufts, Syracuse, and Simon Fraser. He has lectured and published papers on artificial life, virtual worlds, and computational art. He is currently working for Visual Music Systems, a new company based in Boston, developing expressive performance technology which includes high-dimensional gestural inputs and immersive displays. Jeffrey is the author of Virtual Body Language (How nonverbal communication is evolving on the internet), and has also published work on visual math. His various projects can be found on



The art of simulating people and animals in virtual worlds and games draws upon many traditions, including cartoon animation, cognitive psychology, physics, and biology. This talk will introduce an approach to building ecosystems of interacting agents (some controlled by real people and some controlled by software algorithms). What will future virtual worlds look like? Realistic computer graphics is only one way to present a virtual reality, and it is not always the best.

Constraining visual detail to avoid the uncanny valley, and setting priorities on behavioral realism, realtime interaction, and communication, helps to make virtual worlds accessible, emergent, and self-generating. Virtual reality can be a social tool - not just a hallucination. Three important factors are: (1) physical simulation for emergence of constraints, degrees of freedom, and meaningful interactions, (2) communication channels (including body language) for growing social/emotional/informational cultures, and (3) visual presentation that utilizes natural affordances and established visual languages.  

 How will virtual reality be populated in the 21st century? Virtual and real may become more intertwined. Besides people interacting with each other (with varying degrees of avatar-representation), artificial entities may become more common, taking the form of software toys, virtual pets, or informational companions. 

 The art of body language, the science of physical simulation, and the craft of visual representation - all contribute to building rich ecosystems for people....and their virtual companions.



Interactive Visualization for Cultural Heritage - Current Capabilities and Open Issues

Roberto Scopigno
Visual Computing Lab, CNR-ISTI

Brief Bio
Roberto is a Research Director  at ISTI, an Institute of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) located in Pisa. He is part of the Visual Computer Lab. He graduated in Computer Science at the University of Pisa in 1984, and has been involved in Computer Graphics since then. He had joint appointments at the University of Pisa, where he taught computer graphics courses (1990-1997).
He is currently engaged in research projects concerned with multiresolution data modeling and rendering, 3D scanning, surface reconstruction, scientific visualization, geometry processing and applications to cultural heritage.
He published more than one hundred eighty papers in international refereed journals/conferences with h-index 34 and gave invited lectures or courses at several international conferences.
He was Co-Chair of several international conferences and served in the programme committees of international events.
Since 2012 he is Editor In Chief of the ACM Journal of Computing and Cultural Heritage; he served as Editor in Chief of the journal "Computer Graphics Forum" (2001-2010). He is member of Eurographics and served as elected member of the Eurographics Executive Committee since 2001 and as Association Chairman on 2009-2010.

Digital technologies are now mature for producing high quality digital replicas of Cultural Heritage (CH) artifacts. The research results produced in the last decade have shown an impressive evolution and consolidation of the technologies for acquiring high-quality digital 3D models.
Some recent technologies for supporting interactive visualization of complex models will be presented, by focusing on interactive manipulation and visualization of 3D models on the web and on mobile platforms.  The talk will present some recent experiences where high-quality 3D models have been used in CH research, restoration and conservation. Open issues in this domain will also be presented and discussed.



Re-inventing and Re-implementing the Wheel - Visualization Component Reuse in a Large Enterprise

Frank van Ham
IBM Software Group
United Kingdom

Brief Bio
Frank van Ham obtained his CS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Eindhoven, specalizing in graph visualization. After his doctorate studies, he joined IBM Research where he was one of the co-creators of the Many Eyes visualization service. Since 2009, Frank is part of IBM's Software division where he helps integrate core information visualization functionality into IBM's software products. He is a current associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (IEEE TVCG) and the 2012 chair of the IEEE Information Visualization conference. Frank's current research interest revolve around visualization frameworks, collaborative visualization, network visualization and general user interface design.

Most information practitioners will have implemented an interactive bar chart at some point in their career. In a large enterprise like IBM, we have hundreds of bar chart implementations available, across a number of different platforms. This represents a lot of duplicated work, and a potential maintenance nightmare. Ensuring correct and consistent design across the enterprise becomes much harder as a result. Adding to this problem is that our customers sometimes require new visualization types to be added to our products, or want to existing types tweaked to suit their needs.

In this talk I will talk about some of the practical problems we face in this area. I will also present an IBM rendering and mapping framework that represents a solution to some of these problems. By abstracting two key phases of the traditional information visualization pipeline, we can flexibly insert new mappings into products and facilitate deployment of previously created visualizations across different target platforms. I will outline some of the high level design constraints and present samples where possible.



Parallel Coordinates - Breaching 3-D and Onward to BIG DATA

Alfred Inselberg
Tel Aviv University

Brief Bio
Alfred Inselberg received a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) then was Research Professor there until 1966. He held research positions at IBM, where he developed a Mathematical Model of Ear (TIME Nov. 74), concurrently having joint appointments at UCLA, USC and later at the Technion and Ben Gurion University. Since 1995 he is Professor at the School of Mathematical Sciences at Tel Aviv University. He was elected Senior Fellow at the San Diego Supercomputing Center in 1996, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Korea University in 2008 and Distinguished Visiting Professor at National University of Singapore in 2011. Alfred invented and developed the multi-dimensional system of Parallel Coordinates for which he received numerous awards and patents (on Air Traffic Control, Collision-Avoidance, Computer Vision, Data Mining). The textbook "Parallel Coordinates: VISUAL Multidimensional Geometry and its Applications", Springer (October) 2009, has a full chapter on Data Mining and was acclaimed, among others, by Stephen Hawking.

With parallel coordinates the perceptual barrier imposed by our 3-dimensional habitation is breached enabling the visualization of multidimensional problems. By learning to untangle patterns from the data displays a powerful knowledge discovery process has evolved. It leads to a deeper geometrical insight, the recursive visualization of higher-dimensional objects without display clutter. This is due to geometrical properties, unlike those of orthogonal coordinates, which empower efficient applications including classification. Complex relations correspond to (hyper)surfaces whose representational patterns reveal hidden properties of the relations. Processing need not be display bound being performed directly on the data. Only the resulting patterns, ‘multidimensional graphs’ where information is immensely concentrated, are shown. Together with the point <=> line duality, and its higher dimensional relatives, prospects for the visual exploration of massive datasets are emerging.
The parallel coordinates methodology is used in collision avoidance and conflict resolution algorithms for air traffic control (3 USA patents), computer vision (USA patent), data mining (USA patent) for data exploration and automatic classification, multiobjective optimization, process control and elsewhere.