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Information Visualization

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“Basically, visualization has nothing to do with computers”. This title of an earlier talk by Bob Spence emphasises the fact that visualization tools must be designed to support the formation of an internal model by human users of such tools. Bob will discuss, among other features of information visualization, how the successful realisation of the benefits of visualization depends upon an appreciation of human capabilities: “Forget the technology” will summarise much of his talk.

About the speaker:

From the unlikely schoolboy hobby of telephone exchange design Bob Spence became a designer of electronic circuits. Then, in 1968, he realised the enormous potential that interactive graphics held for engineering design, a realisation that led via research and development to the first (1985) commercially available interactive-graphic circuit design facility. His work in Human-computer Interaction also led naturally into information visualization, and along the way Bob was the co-inventor of the first Focus+Context technique (the Bifocal Display) and the Attribute and Influence Explorers. An influence upon his work in information visualization came from his parallel research into engineering design for mass production, leading to visualization tools such as the Prosection Matrix and the Influence Explorer. Bob is currently Emeritus Professor of Information Engineering at Imperial College London and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He presents courses on Information Visualization around the world: “have course, will travel”. He has just published the textbook “Information Visualization: Design for Interaction” (Prentice Hall, 2007).

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