Data Visualization

This is the course website for CS444, Data Visualization.

Welcome to CS444, Data Visualization. In this course, you will learn how, and why, to create data visualizations. Please read the syllabus carefully, and contact the instructor should you have any questions about its content.

A “visualization” is simply a visual representation of an object of our interest. It’s visual: we consume them with our eyes, and so it is essential that we know how our eyes work — and, more importantly, the parts of our brains connected to our eyes. It’s also a representation; we get to choose what this representation will be, and different choices lead to different pictures, some good and some bad. We will learn how to tell those apart, and how to make pictures that are more good than bad.

Good data visualization involves perceptual psychology, mathematics, and computer science. This makes our subject uniquely challenging: sometimes the way our eyes work stands in way of applying some beautiful result from computer science. Sometimes it’s the other way around: something deep about the math in the data will help guide the design process and let us make a picture that is beautiful, informative, and truthful.

The content of the course is split roughly in three distinct aspects: mechanics, principles, and techniques.

Course syllabus

The syllabus for the course is available here.

Class materials



Intro Aug 23 Introduction slides
Mechanics Aug 25 HTML/CSS/SVG Basics no slides
  Aug 30 Javascript Basics no slides
  Sep 1 Javascript + DOM, SVG no slides
  Sep 6 d3 intro no slides
  Sep 8 d3 joins and scales no slides
Principles Sep 13 Color vision slides
  Sep 15 Color vision slides
  Sep 20 Other perceptual channels slides
    Assignment 3 discussion  
  Sep 22 Other perceptual channels slides
  Sep 27 Assignment 4 discussion  
    Interaction slides
  Sep 29 Design Criticism, Algebraic Design slides
Techniques Oct 4 Basic Spatial Arrangements slides
  Oct 6 cont’d.  
  Oct 11 High-Dimensional Data slides
  Oct 13 High-Dimensional Data  
Review Oct 20 Review slides
  Oct 25 MIDTERM  
  Oct 27 Class canceled (VIS 2016)  
  Nov 1st Hierarchies slides
  Nov 3rd Graphs slides
  Nov 8th Graphs+Spatial Data slides
  Nov 10th Spatial Data slides, slides 2
  Nov 15th Spatial Data slides 2
Topics Nov 17th Cartography slides
  Nov 22nd Large Data slides
  Nov 24th Thanksgiving, no class  
  Nov 29th Putting it all together  
  Dec 1st The Human Side of Data  
  Dec 6th Retrospective, Review slides

Planned schedule




Planned material