Project Description

Overview | Software | Proposals | Updates | Final Presentations/Reports | Projects from Other Courses | Back to 533 Home


There are two kinds of projects: programming and analysis. For programming projects, you may do the projects individually or in teams of two. The total amount of work done must be commensurate with the size of the group.

Programming: For a programming project, you will implement a visualization system of your own. You may use existing components as the base for your system.

Analysis: For an analysis project, you will pick an application domain to address, and write a combination survey/analysis paper about it. No serious programming is required, so this option is suitable for non-CS students. You will include a detailed survey of previous work in the area. This survey should be more considerably detailed than the required previous work section in the programming project writeup. You will pick one or more existing software tools to to analyze a dataset from that domain, so no serious programming is required. (You may need to write some scripts to change data formats, however.) The analysis should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of those tools, and discuss in detail whether they are effective for the task that you have chosen.


The language and platform for your project is your choice.

In many lectures, I will include a section going into detail on one or two software packages and toolkits that you might use to build your final project. Some of these packages are now listed in the Software Resources page, and more will be added over the course of the lectures.


Meet with me in person to discuss your project at least once before submitting a proposal!

You're submitting a proposal, not a specification - it's natural that your plans will change somewhat as you refine your ideas. But your proposal should be based on an idea that we've discussed and I've approved. When you come talk to me about your proposal, I'll give you some pointers to background reading in the area of your interest.

I advise that you start by thinking about what you want your software to do, and only then think about how you would implement it (languages, platforms, etc). The key is to find some domain and task that both interests you and presents an opportunity for infovis. That is, there is some task where a human needs to understand the structure of a large dataset. You're definitely welcome to link the infovis project to another class or research project. You may also build on existing software, but your project should include some implementation work of your own.

I do not advise that you start by deciding on a language, and then look around for some task that you might be able to do in that language - that's backwards, and is likely to stifle your creativity

Proposal format: your writeup should be at least two pages and include:

One proposal per project (whether it is individual or team) is due on November 4 by 2pm. Your proposal should be in the form of a web page, with both text and images. Send me the URL for the page to hand in the proposal.


The class session on November 16 will be used for project update presentations. You will only have a short time period, four minutes, in which to present your work, so be concise! You'll want a brief description of your problem and approach, along with a report on what you've done so far, and any changes to the original plan.

You'll have four minutes per project, and you need to submit your slides as powerpoint by 10am on Nov 16. I'll be compiling them into a single file.

Final Presentations/Reports

Final presentation length: 9 minutes
Final report format: PDF

You will present the results of your project with both a presentation and a written report. The presentation will occur during the final exam slot for this course. Interested people from the department will be invited to attend, typically 5-10 will be there. Showing live demos of your software in action is encouraged in the final presentation. If you are giving a demo, be sure to practice in advance so that you don't run over your time slot! You absolutely should include screen snapshots in your slides as backup, in case the demo effect leads to inopportune software crashes. Also remember that the audience has seen your project update, so you don't need to repeat all of that. Focus more on your results.

In contrast, your final report should be a standalone document that fully describes your project. Do not assume the reader has seen your original proposal. It should have both the structure and form of a conference paper, using the templates. Please submit it as PDF. Your paper should include the following information:

The report is due 24 hours after the final presentations. The reports should be at least 8-10 pages of text (programming) or 15-20 pages (analysis), and should include screen snapshots of your running software. There is no length restriction, feel free to use as much space as you need for images.

A great example of a final writeup from a previous course is the Prawn paper.

Projects From Other Courses

There are several previous infovis courses that have project components, browsing through the final reports may help you think about what you might like to do, and what scope is realistic for a course project.
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Tamara Munzner
Last modified: Tue Dec 13 23:58:30 PST 2005