Immersive exploration of dark matter data, developed by Electronic Visualization Lab students P. Hanula, K. Piekutowski, and C. Uribe

CS 526 @ UIC
Interactive Scientific Visualization

Fall 2016
Instructor: G.Elisabeta Marai (gmarai@uic.edu)
Wed 4-6:30pm
ERF 2068, EVL CyberCommons




Class Information

Collaboration Policy


Piazza Q&A



D3 tutorials

CS 526 -- Interactive Scientific Visualization -- is an introductory research-oriented graduate-level seminar offerred in Fall 2016 at the Electronic Visualization Lab. This edition of the course will focus on interactive scientific visual data analysis using a variety of media and technologies, from virtual reality to large and regular displays.

Content: Learn how to do interactive visualization research, from soup to nuts, in one semester. Or, why not, how to use visualization to analyze your own data!

This class discusses computer graphics, modeling and visualization techniques used to solve scientific problems. In the second half of the class, students embark on a research project. Working in small groups, students identify scientific problems, propose solutions involving computational modeling and visualization, design and implement the solutions, apply them to the problems, evaluate their success, and report on results. Examples might include interactive software systems, quantitative analysis tools, or new applications of existing visualizations methods.

This class is open to CS students and to students from other disciplines (biology, geology, history, physics etc.) who are interested in collaborating with computer scientists.

Prerequisites: CS students: programming experience; non-CS students: project ideas. Computer graphics experience is welcome, but not required.

Structure: The class consists of readings discussions, lectures, guest-lectures, a few lightweight assignments, and a final project.

Grading policy: the grade for this class will be computed based on:

  • Project success and demo: base for class grade. We will develop criteria for this success during the semester. This will be a group grade.
  • Each handin: can alter your grade by up to 1/2 letter. To encourage class discussion, late paper-reviews will *not* be accepted. Paper-reviews are due at the beginning of each class. However, we understand midterms and other coursework may interfere with your regular warmup assignments. For these assignments only, a late handin will cost 1/3 of a letter grade off the final course grade for each calendar day it is late; each student gets five free late days before penalties accrue.
  • Class participation: up to 1/2 letter grade increase.

In this course we will be using Piazza for class discussion. The quicker you begin asking questions on Piazza (rather than via emails), the quicker you'll benefit from the collective knowledge of your classmates and instructors. We encourage you to ask questions when you're struggling to understand a concept—you can even do so anonymously. If you are registered for this course, we have already sent you an invitation to Piazza. Please log in as soon as possible, your first homework (hw0: Introduce yourself) has already been posted there.

The class schedule, the assigned readings, and the course assignments are (and will continue to be) posted through the class syllabus and through Piazza.


By the end of this class, students will be able to:

  • design and implement a visual analysis tool that helps solve a problem in science, engineering, or the humanities

  • effectively encode visual information

  • use appropriately interaction paradigms such as details on demand, brushing and linking etc.

  • interview users to extract requirements for visual analysis

  • analyze and present the user requirements

  • use parallel design and prototyping techniques

  • do a usability study

  • work effectively as a team

  • communicate orally effectively

  • listen effectively

  • give and receive feedback effectively