CS 795/895 - Applied Visual Analytics
Spring 2013: Mon 3-5:35pm, E&CS 2120

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  • Dr. Michele Weigle
  • mweigle at cs.odu.edu
  • E&CS 3214
  • Office Hours:
    M 1:30-3pm
    Th 9:30-10:45am




Tableau's data visualization software is provided through the Tableau for Teaching program.

Project 2 - VAST Challenge 2013

Assigned: Monday, Mar 18, 2013
Due: Friday, May 3, 2013 (final exam time)

Guidelines are subject to change as more details about each mini-challenge are released.


The goal of this project is to apply your analysis and visualization skills to real-world-like data from the this year's IEEE VAST Challenge. You are encouraged to continue working on your project after the semester and submit your work to the challenge (deadline July 8).

VAST Challenge 2013 Website

This year's VAST challenge is made up of 3 distinct mini-challenges.

Mini-Challenge 1

from the VAST Challenge website

MC 1 focuses on predictive analytics for movie openings. It will challenge your ability to use visual analytics for predictive analysis, as well as your ability to manage large data and to make decisions in a short timeframe. Using data we specify, you will use your interactive visualization tools to predict upcoming movies’ opening weekend box office successes and viewer ratings. It is decidedly different from previous VAST Challenges in that it will be continuous and iterative with reviewing and recognition being presented from now until the final judging session.

Summary: MC 1 is a movie prediction challenge.

Challenge details - http://boxofficevast.org/

Mini-Challenge 2

from the VAST Challenge website

MC 2 tests your skills in visual design. The fictitious Big Enterprise is searching for a design for their future situation awareness display. The company’s intrepid network operations team will use this display to understand the health, security, and performance of their entire computer network. This challenge is also very different from previous VAST Challenges, because there is no data to process and no questions to answer. Instead, the challenge is to show off your design talents by producing a creative new design for situation awareness.

Summary: MC 2 is a design challenge.

Challenge details - http://vacommunity.org/VAST+Challenge+2013%3A+Mini-Challenge+2

Mini-Challenge 3

from the VAST Challenge website

MC3 focuses on unusual happenings on the computer network of a marketing company. Can you identify what looks amiss on the network? And can you ask the right questions to help you piece together the timeline of events?

Summary: MC 3 is a challenge in visual analytics for cyber security. It may be helpful to have some network security experience, but this is not required.

Challenge details - TBA
Note: This challenge has not yet been released.


Students should work on a project in teams of 3-5. You may keep your Project 1 team, or you may choose to form a team based on which Mini-Challenge most interests you. Multiple teams may work on the same MC.

Important Milestones

  • Apr 1 - Initial project description. Group webpage that lists team members, problem, and initial approach. Each team member should be assigned a specific role/duty, such as 'team leader', 'recorder', 'scheduler', 'tester', etc.
  • May 3 - Project presentations and demos.
  • May 3 - Project reports due. This includes updating your group webpage with a description of the system, link to the system, instructions for using the system, and a listing of each team member and their responsibilities.

In addition to these milestones, class meetings will revolve around discussions of the challenges. Each group is expected to present their current problems and approaches and contribute to class discussions.

You are welcome to meet with me as needed to discuss your progress and any issues that arise.


  • 15-20 minutes
  • The presentation should include an overview of any data cleaning required, a description of your system, future work, problems/things you learned.
  • The main part of the presentation is a live demo of the system.
  • All members of the group must participate in the presentation.


  • Formatted according to guidelines for Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (same format as InfoVis papers). Guidelines and templates are available at http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~vis/Tasks/camera_tvcg.html.
  • You are encouraged to use a teaser image to provide a picture of your system on page 1.
  • Required heading elements: Title, Author Names and Affiliations (dept, university), Abstract. Index Terms are not required.
  • Min: 3 pages, max: 10 pages
  • Required Sections: Introduction, Data, Tools, Approach, Conclusions, Final Thoughts, and References, along with others as appropriate.
  • Remember that all figures and tables must include appropriate captions (and should be designed according to the principles we've discussed in class).
  • After the Conclusions section, add a section titled 'Final Thoughts' describing your experience working on the project. This section should include the following information:
    • What were problems you faced?
    • What things did you learn?
    • What was the contribution of each group member?
  • This paper must be in your own words. Especially when describing related work, you must resist the urge to copy (either directly or indirectly) from the paper you are referring to.
  • Submission: One member of the group should email a PDF version of the report to me with the subject line CS 795/895 Project 2


I will evaluate the overall quality of your project, including all milestones and components. Each project will be evaluated against the goals of the particular Mini-Challenge it represents.

I understand that you have a limited amount of time to complete the Mini-Challenge, but I expect a consistent effort through the rest of the semester. This will be demonstrated through your weekly class discussions.

Each team member will also fill out an evaluation of the performance of their fellow team members. This will be similar to the rubric used for Project 1.

For all Mini-Challenges, the following questions will be important during the evaluation process:

  • Presentation: Was your presentation an effective discussion and portrayal of the project?
  • Report: Was your report well-written, organized, and free of major grammatical or spelling errors?
  • Report: Does your report help someone understand the problem and how your system addresses that problem?