ISR Distinguished Speaker

Colin Ware

Data Visualization Research Lab
“Space, Time, Whales, and Simple Cognitive Models for Data Visualization”
Friday, April 13, 2007 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Faculty Host: 

Email RSVP required to Nancy Myers at by Monday April 9.

Donald Bren Hall (building #314), room 6011

No cost to attend.


Click here for directions and parking information.


There has been a recent revolution in the science of perception that is labeled “Active Vision”. According to the active vision model visual cognition is a continuous dynamic process in which eye movements are critical to how we construct meaning from external information. Much of the information that is used in many cognitive tasks is not held in the head, but is held externally in the environment or in computer displays and it is sampled on an as-needed just-in-time basis.

Our work has been focused on making cognitively efficient visual interfaces for the analysis of 3D time-varying data. An extended version of the active vision model has proven to be effective in showing which interface designs will be most useful. In this talk I will sketch out the components of an extended active vision model and illustrate its predictive power with a number of examples. Chief among these will be the interactive graphical tools we have developed to analyze data obtained from tagged humpback whales. I shall use these to make the case, based on simple active vision-based arguments, that turning time varying data into spatial patterns is almost always the right thing to do. My broader goal will be to argue that a basic knowledge of how visual thinking works should be considered as essential knowledge for the designer of interactive systems.

About the Speaker: 

Colin Ware is Director of the Data Visualization Research Lab. which is part of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire. He is cross appointed between the Departments of Ocean Engineering and Computer Science. Ware specializes in advanced data visualization and he has a special interest in applications of visualization to Ocean Mapping. He combines interests in both basic and applied research and he has advanced degrees in both computer science (MMath, Waterloo) and in the psychology of perception (PhD,Toronto). He has published over 90 articles in scientific and technical journals and at leading conferences. Many of these relate to the use of color, texture, motion and 3D displays in information visualization. His approach is always to combine theory with practice and his publications range from rigorously scientific contributions to the Journal of Physiology and Vision Research to applications oriented articles in ACM Transactions on Graphics and IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics.