Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hard to believe but... I seem to have made it into the Hall of Fame of Data Visualization!

Posted by Alpha Auer

Blowing one's own horn is really not such a terribly cool thing to do but this occasion does seem to justify the act:

I wear many different hats, which sometimes converge and at other times do not. While, here in Second Life® I am incorrigible Alpha, heavily into tails, ears and all manner of nonsensical playful activity, in a parallel universe I am actually a design researcher in the field of data visualization; collaborating with a computer scientist and an architect in work that has even brought us an IBM award last year; not to mention that I also supervise some long suffering PhD students who exert good brain power on little conundrums such as how best to visualize heterogeneous data sets of one million plus nodes. (One of the cute little critters even had the audacity to leave a comment at the very location of my current glory, totally taking the piss... grrrr ;-)

So, how do the hats converge? Well, if there were such a thing as paw boots in Real Life, I would most definitely be the first in line to get a pair, and moreover I have been known to trample on many a tender academic toe with my lovely Doc Maartens during somber occasions such as faculty board meetings and the like (alas)...

The web portal Visual Complexity is the one indisputable Mecca of data visualization, the place where everyone connected to the data visualization field dreams of having their output posted at. And mine seems to have gotten in! I did not apply, they must have found me, which makes the whole thing even better!

The Bridge Project is not part of my collaborative research in data vis but a solo venture, undertaken as part of PhD work at the Planetary Collegium (as I said, I like to wear many hats ;-). Indeed, I am not really sure that the Bridge Project can even be termed as proper data visualization since it only contains some hundred nodes, which is a laughably small number in terms of a data vis study worth its salt. Instead the Bridge is a free fall artistic project which I created with VRML. I presented it both as creative work and as a theoretical study at numerous conferences, including the Siggraph Sketches Program in 2005 and the EuroGraphics Computational Aesthetics Conference of the same year. Both very nice, both very prestigious - but this Visual Complexity add-in is most certainly the cherry on the icing and I want to share with all the world.

You can download and view the project from here. Oh and, it is absolutely NPIRL of course: You have to fly in VRML to be able to look at it... ;-).


AstroSphinx said...

About two nights ago I had a strange dream of maps and looking at them.. it was in a very different space, not SL and not RL, but then where was this place.. finally I recall saying the words.. "IBM, you work for me."

I see this and I get the impression I really was getting a clue to something I knew very little about going on.. but I can't be certain.. its the same kind of feeling. and yes its very NPIRL!!!

Congradulations!! :)

Alpha Auer said...

Oh wow! What a dream!
My goodness!