An international research team led by Yingjie "Victor" Chen, assistant professor of computer graphics technology, earned the Sponsor’s Award for Novel Visualization in the VAST Challenge 2014. The Visual Analytics Science and Technology challenge is an international contest that invites visual analytics researchers and developers to compete to solve data analytics problems. The team included faculty and graduate students from Purdue University and Harbin Institute of Technology in China,
The VAST Challenge asks teams to use datasets that included GPS records, Twitter posts, and various text documents to investigate a hypothetical kidnapping case. Teams could tackle three mini challenges as well as the grand challenge, which integrated results from the mini challenges. Chen’s team submitted results for all four challenges.
Lead team members included David Ebert, the Silicon Valley Professor of Electric and Computer Engineering at Purdue; Zhenyu Qian, assistant professor of interaction design at Purdue; and Chen Wang, a media technology and art professor at Harbin Institute of Technology.
The visualization award was won for the solution Chen's team came up with for one of the mini challenges, which focused on analyzing vehicle tracking data.
Visual analytics is the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. It is experiencing rapid growth since more and more analysis tasks require humans to interact with computers. The VAST challenges are part of the IEEE VIS Conference, which comprises three IEEE conferences—Scientific Visualization, Information Visualization, and VAST. The challenges have attracted teams from many top research institutions, such as Purdue, MIT, Georgia Tech, UNC Charlotte, SAS institute, IBM research, Beijing University and the University of Konstanz in Germany to participate every year.
Since 2010, Chen has led a variety of VAST teams and received seven awards. This year, his team will receive their award at the IEEE VIS conference in November in Paris, France.