Aug 2008 Microsoft Techtalk: Social Network Visualisation

MS IrelandOn Monday the 25th of August I gave an invited Techtalk on Social Network Visualisation at Microsoft Ireland. I was invited to present by Andrzej after meeting him at AVI 2008 in Naples Italy in June.

The talk discussed the history and purpose of social network analysis and visualisation. I also gave details on a range of interactive visual representations (algorithms and methods) for abstract relational data. This visual display of data aids in human exploration and understanding of it. It is a key research
challenge. Network Visualisation is concerend with the sourcing, management, layout, drawing, viewing and interaction with relational data.

Visualisation relies on a human to guide the application of methods, structuring of queries and control of the interaction in the pursuit of understanding. In practice, the network data of interest arises from domains including social science (criminal networks, transaction networks, standard social networks, phone-call networks and disease transmission networks), bioinformatics (metabolic networks and protein-protein interaction) and ICT (computer networks, software calls and neural networks). The essential idea in relational information visualization is that the a person’s perceptual abilities are employed to understand and explore such information. Visually, humans can perceive more patterns linking local features in the data.

While research in other fields such as data mining, machine learning and knowledge management are also attempting to aid in the analysis of such voluminous data, there is a realisation that the “human-in-the-loop” visualisation affords a visual analysis of data not possible through automation alone.

Network visualisation is a broad topic so to help contextualize it I limited the scope to social networks. As such, the focus of this talk is to survey the fundamental algorithms, methods and interaction techniques along with research in my own group required to visualise large and dynamic social networks.

Short BIO:
Dr. Aaron Quigley is a College Lecturer in the School of Computer Science & Informatics, University College Dublin, a Principal Investigator in TRIL, an CAS IBM Visiting Scientist, UCD director of ODCSSS, coordinator for the EU FP7 SA CAPSIL and a researcher in Lero the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre. His research interests include pervasive computing, software engineering, information visualisation, human computer interaction, graph drawing, location and context awareness, peer-to-peer computing, surface interaction and network analysis.

He is the Program Co-Chair for the 4th International Symposium on Location- and Context-Awareness, (LoCA 2009) Tokyo Japan, the Late Breaking Results Co-Chair, Pervasive 2008, Sydney, Australia and Program Co-Chair, PPD'08 Workshop on designing multi-touch interaction techniques for coupled public and
private displays, AVI 2008 Naples Italy. He has published over 65 internationally peer-reviewed publications including edited volumes, journal papers, book chapters, conference and workshop papers. His current team consists of 23 including; 7 postgraduate students, 2 postdocs, 3 research interns along with 11 TRIL research and developers based in UCD. At postgraduate level, he has graduated 1 PhD, 1 MSc and 6 Minor MSc thesis.

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