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UW Interactive Data Lab’s Vega-Lite earns Best Paper at InfoVis 2016

Vega-Lite-VisualizationsResearchers in the UW Interactive Data Lab led by UW CSE professor Jeffrey Heer have captured the Best Paper Award at InfoVis 2016 for their paper presenting Vega-Lite, a new high-level grammar for rapid and concise specification of interactive data visualizations.

Although interaction is at the heart of effective data visualization, existing systems for designing interactive visualizations are either complex or overly limiting—particularly when it comes to customization. Enter Vega-Lite, which combines a traditional grammar of graphics—including visual encoding rules and a composition algebra for layered and multi-view displays—with a novel interaction grammar to bring the advantages of high-level specification to interactive visualization.

The research team, which includes Stanford Ph.D. student Arvind Satyanarayan and UW CSE Ph.D. students Dominik Moritz and Kanit Wongsuphasawat, demonstrated the software’s effectiveness in conjunction with common visualization techniques, such as panning, zooming and linked selection, as well as customized interaction methods. Using Vega-Lite, analysts will be able to produce and modify interactive graphics with the same ease as they now construct static plots.

From the award citation:

“Vega-Lite is a high-level visualization grammar that integrates an algebra for interaction techniques with operations on views. An important goal of this work is to define a high-level language in which to specify sophisticated interactive visualizations that can be generated automatically. High-level languages like these may help non-programmers to create interactive visualizations and ease them into specifying visualizations in a programmatic way.”

The team will present Vega-Lite at InfoVis, which is part of the big IEEE VIS 2016 conference, in Baltimore, Maryland in October.

Learn more about Vega-Lite here, and read the research paper here.

Way to go, team!