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Making the invisible visible - managing massive datasets


26 February 2013

Data visualisation is about "enabling businesses, researchers and other users to explore datasets to identify patterns, associations or trends", says Professor Seokhee Hong.
Data visualisation is about "enabling businesses, researchers and other users to explore datasets to identify patterns, associations or trends", says Professor Seokhee Hong.

Understanding increasingly massive data sets is challenging information technology developers worldwide, according to University of Sydney IT researchers who are hosting the annual International Pacific Visualization (PacificVis) symposium this week.

As the scale of data increases, the limitations of static 2D and 3D data representations is becoming evident says Professor Peter Eades, Chair of Software Technology, at the University's School of IT and Symposium Chair. Professor Eades says researchers are looking for more interactive solutions to understanding these data collections.

Computer science and information technology experts from across the globe including representatives from Japan, Germany and China have gathered to discuss the challenges of understanding massive data sets now common in security surveillance, medical research, biological and other natural sciences.

The Symposium Program Committee Chair, Professor Seokhee Hong, also from the University's School of IT says technological advances are increasing data exponentially, resulting in massive, complex networks.

"The challenge we are trying to overcome is the design of a central tool with the clarity and definition to carry out analysis, enabling businesses, researchers and other dataset users to explore datasets to identify patterns, associations or trends," states Professor Hong.

Key note speakers at the symposium include Giuseppe Di Battista, Professor of Computer Science at Università Roma Tre, Italy, who will discuss the need for visualising a network whose structure evolves over time.

Professor Di Battista says in the networking field it is often necessary to show how the flow of packets changes according to network modifications. He will argue that in the Internet Domain Name System it is useful to study the evolution of the relationship between name servers sending queries and name servers answering such queries. He will also discuss Web crawling during the Web exploration, and how the structure of the visited hyperlinks depends on the actual search strategy.

Also delivering a keynote address is Charles (Chuck) Hansen a Professor of Computer Science in the School of Computing and an Associate Director of the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah.

Professor Hansen says we will see the development of exascale computational resources and while these machines offer enormous potential for solving very large-scale realistic computational problems, their effectiveness will hinge upon the ability of human experts to interact with their simulation results and extract useful information.

The symposium is being held from 26 February to 1 March.


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Media enquiries: Victoria Hollick, 9351 2579, 0401 711 361, victoria.hollick@sydney.edu.au