Prior to UBC, she worked as a research scientist at the Compaq Systems Research Center in California and as technical staff at The Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota. She and her group have released over 25 software packages as open source. She has consulted for or collaborated with many companies including Agilent, AT&T Labs, Google, Microsoft, Mobify, Silicon Graphics, Tableau, Uber, and early-stage startups. She serves on the advisory boards for the Data Visualization Society and Data Literacy LLC. She has worked on problem-driven visualization in many domains including genomics, computational linguistics, web log analysis, and journalism. Her technique-driven visualization interests include graph drawing and dimensionality reduction. Her evaluation interests include controlled experiments in a laboratory setting and qualitative studies in the field.
Tamara's research interests include the development, evaluation, and characterization of visualization systems and techniques from both problem-driven and technique-driven perspectives. In problem-driven work, known as design studies, the focus is on designing systems to solve specific needs for a target group of real-world users. Tamara has pioneered the development of design study methodology, reflecting on work within a broad range of application domains, including genomics, evolutionary biology, fisheries management, web log analysis, e-commerce, and journalism. Her technique-driven interests include graph drawing and dimensionality reduction, with an emphasis on scalable algorithms. Her evaluation interests include both controlled experiments in a laboratory setting and qualitative studies in the field. She has contributed substantially to the theoretical foundations of visualization design and the visualization research process. Her widely used book Visualization Analysis and Design provides a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about visualization in terms of principles and design choices. It features a unified approach encompassing information visualization techniques for the abstract data of tables and networks, scientific visualization techniques for spatial data, and visual analytics techniques for interweaving data transformation and analysis with interactive visual exploration.
Tamara has published over 80 papers, including 21 at IEEE InfoVis, and others at many venues including TVCG, VAST, EuroVis, SciVis, SIGGRAPH, CHI, Graphics Interface, PacificVis, Graph Drawing, Information Visualization, and CG&A. Her h-index is 49, her work has amassed over 11,000 citations, and she has given over 200 talks. She has supervised over 40 students and postdocs, who have gone on to positions including Google, Tableau Research, Electronic Arts, AeroInfo, and professorships at Zurich, Northeastern, Stuttgart, Utah, Victoria, and Beuth. She and her group have released over 25 software packages as open source. She has consulted for or collaborated with many companies including Agilent, AT&T Labs, Google, Microsoft, Mobify, Silicon Graphics, Tableau, Uber, and early-stage startups. She serves on the advisory boards for the Data Visualization Society and Data Literacy LLC. She is the co-editor of the AK Peters Visualization Series with CRC Press / Routledge.
Tamara has helped to organize InfoVis in roles ranging from webmaster to inaugural posters chair to papers chair to steering committee chair. She has served as chair of the VIS Executive Committee, chair of the VIS Restructuring Committee (reVISe), and a member of the VGTC Executive Committee. She was papers chair for EuroVis and a founding member of the BioVis Steering Committee. She received the IEEE VGTC Visualization Technical Achievement Award in 2015 and is a founding member of the VIS Academy. Her 2009 paper on the nested model of visualization design and validation earned the InfoVis 10-year Test of Time award in 2019.
Tamara was born in 1969 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. She moved to Canada in 2002 and became a dual Canadian citizen in 2019. The artwork on the cover of her book is by her father Aribert Munzner.