CS 725/825 - Information Visualization
Spring 2019: Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:15pm, Dragas 1102

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CS725 @ GitLab

Paper Presentations


Paper Presentation

Give a 10-minute presentation on an academic paper from the IEEE Information Visualization (InfoVis) or Visual Analytics (VAST) conference. These are top-tier conferences in the information visualization and visual analytics fields. (For an overview of IEEE VIS, which includes InfoVis and VAST, see the VIS website.)


Paper selection will be done through GitLab. See presentations.md under the class-docs project for more information. This is also where the presentation schedule will be available.

You may send me a draft of your slides for early feedback. The draft is due by Monday at 8am the week you are presenting. I will not be able to look at drafts sent after that time.

Before class time on the day of your presentation, you must submit your slides via Blackboard (see the "Other Submissions" section). I will download the submitted slides onto the classroom computer.

Online Students: You will present via video. You can either choose to do this live via WebEx or submit a recording. If you do a recording, record yourself as you would give the presentation in class (not sitting at a desk, not just a head-shot, not reading from a script). If possible, your slides should also be in view. You might want to investigate WebEx for this as it can record from both your screen and a camera. If you use something other than WebEx, post the video on youtube, vimeo, etc. Before class time on the day of your scheduled presentation, submit both your slides and a link to the recording (don't try to attach the actual video file) on Blackboard.


The goal of the presentation is to teach us about the paper. To do this, you must be able to identify and understand the main points of the paper and present them in a clear manner.

Important: This is a 10-minute presentation, so there is not enough time to go into the details and present all parts of the paper. So, it is important that you identify the main points of the paper before you begin crafting your slides. If you have not read many academic papers, then S. Keshav's How to Read a Paper will be very helpful. Just be aware that it is harder to create a good 10-minute presentation than a good 20-minute presentation. Don't wait until the last minute to start preparing this.

If the paper is about something that is not familiar to you, you may need to do some outside research on the topic. Odds are, if the topic is unfamiliar to you, it is also unfamiliar to your classmates. You should include enough background information in your presentation so that everyone can understand the main points of the paper.

Here are some questions that you should answer in your presentation:

  • What is the motivation, or the problem that the authors are addressing?
  • What is the authors' approach?
  • Was there an evaluation? If so, describe it briefly. What were the results?
  • What are the contributions of the work?
  • What are the 3-5 main points that the authors want readers to remember from their paper?

Some papers may have an associated 30-second video (for example, see the list from InfoVis 2013). These might be good to incorporate into your presentation, especially if the paper is describing an interactive system. (Do not show a video just because one exists -- it must be helpful for the presentation.) With only 10 minutes for your entire presentation, I would not advise you to show a longer demo.


This assignment is worth 20% of your final grade. The main portions of the grade are further explained below. See the Presentation Grading Rubric for details.


Your goal is to teach the class about the contributions and main points of the paper. You should also be prepared to answer some basic questions about the paper.

You must have a conclusion slide that provides a summary of the main points of the paper and brings the presentation to a natural end.

Your grade will largely be based on how well you demonstrate understanding of the paper and convey the main points to the class in the 10-minute time limit.


You may use PowerPoint or something that generates PDF to create your slides.

Slides must be your own work! You may find the authors' slides online. While these may be helpful to look at, you are not allowed to copy them. (If there are figures from the paper or presentation that would be helpful in your presentation, you may use them, but you must include an acknowledgement on the slide.) The main goal of this assignment is for you to summarize the paper and teach it to the class. This means that you must organize and develop the slides yourself. (Also, the authors would have had 20-30 minutes for their presentation and you only have 10 minutes.)

If you want to provide references to other papers or other resources (images, examples, etc.), put the reference in small font (10-11pt) on the slide itself. Do not include a separate References slide at the end of your presentation.

Your slides should have a non-distracting theme, be free of misspellings and grammatical errors, be consistent in use of slide titles and capitalization, and should not contain too much text per slide. Use figures whenever possible (a picture is worth a thousand words), but do not add unnecessary clipart images.

Your title slide must contain the following information:

  • Title of paper
  • Authors
  • Venue (conference)
  • Year of publication
  • CS 725/825 - Information Visualization
  • Presented by your name
  • Date

Make sure that you include slide numbers on all of your slides (except the title slide).


Here's what I expect in terms of the actual delivery of the presentation:

  • Speak clearly and at an appropriate volume and speed
  • Maintain eye contact with all members of the audience (not just the professor)
  • Demonstrate that you are prepared and have practiced the talk
  • Use the slides as guides, but do not read directly from them
  • Ensure that transitions between topics are smooth and natural
  • The presentation must have a natural ending (usually done with a conclusions slide) to avoid ending with something like "That's all I have"

General Advice

The slides from my CS 891 presentation "How to Prepare and Give an Academic Presentation" are available at https://www.slideshare.net/secret/1TsQ7BWFcINEQ8. We'll go over some of these during class.

There are several nice guides on how to give good talks. Read them and put them into practice.

If you do not have much experience at giving presentations, then the best advice is practice, practice, practice.

What Not To Do

Audience Responsibilities

Students who are not presenting also have responsibilities.

  • Attention: First, all laptops must be closed and phones down during the presentations. Please give the presenter your attention. Do not talk among yourselves during the presentation -- even if you think you are whispering, it is still distracting.
  • Comprehension: Write 1-2 sentences that describe the main ideas of the paper that you gained from the presentation. We will have 2-3 presentations each class meeting, but this should fit on a single piece of paper. You will submit this at the end of class and it will be considered part of your participation grade for that class meeting. To be prepared for this, skim the papers before class and bring a pencil/pen and paper to class.
    Online Students: This is also required of you for each set of presentations. The audio and slides of the presentations will be available via WebEx after class. Email me your submission (plain text or PDF) before the next week's class time.

When an online student is scheduled to present, all other students must watch the presentation individually and submit their comprehension writeup before the next class meeting.