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Let's meet to see how other people effectively visualise and analyse Big Data

Welcome to the May event for the Big Data Visualization meetup group. 

The upcoming event will include presentations by  Sophie Engle, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco, Carrie Gates, Chief Scientist at Dell Research and Vidya Setlur, Research Scientist at Tableau Software.


7:00 pm  Food, beer and conversation 
7:30 pm  Sophie Engle
8:00 pm  Vidya Setlur
8:30 pm  Break 
8:45 pm  Carrie Gates

How Good People Make Bad Graphs: Unintentional Fibbing with Visualization, Sophie Engle
Reasonable goals can often result in incredibly misleading visualizations. This talk will show several examples illustrating how easy (and how dangerous) it is to lie with data visualization, and discuss some of the goals that may have led to that result. Then, we will explore how to rework those visualizations to still achieve those goals without distorting our perception of the data.

Automatic Generation of Semantic Icon Encodings for Visualizations, Vidya Setlur
Authors often use icon encodings to indicate the semantics of categorical information in visualizations. The default icon libraries found in visualization tools often do not match the semantics of the data. This makes users spend significant time and effort in designing or searching for icons that are more semantically meaningful. This process can hinder the flow of visual analysis, especially when the amount of data is large, leading to a suboptimal user experience. In this talk, I describe a technique for automatically generating semantically relevant icon encodings for categorical dimensions of data points. The algorithm employs natural language processing to find relevant imagery from the Internet, and feature based image clustering for visually consistent, yet discriminative icons.

Visualizations and Sys Admins Don't Mix!, Carrie Gates

Visualizations have been successfully used to quickly convey complex information in a number of fields, and for a number of years.  Yet visit any Security Operations Center and you'll see that the modus operandi consists largely of command lines and standard GUIs … and not visualizations.  This talk will focus on visualizations specifically intended to provide knowledge about the security of a network, and geared towards system administrators.  I will present some pretty pictures, discuss the needs of sys admins, and end with a lessons learned about visualizations, system administrators, and why the two don't mix.


Sophie Engle,  University of San Francisco.
Dr. Sophie Engle is an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco. She is the Program Director for the Master of Science in Computer Science program, and teaches data visualization for the undergraduate Computer Science and Data Science programs, as well as the Master of Science in Analytics program. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Security from the University of California, Davis. Her current focus is on visualization for computer security.

Vidya Setlur, Tableau Software

Dr. Vidya Setlur is a research scientist at Tableau Software. Previously, she worked as a principal research scientist at the Nokia Research Center for 7 years. She earned her doctorate in Computer Graphics in 2005 at Northwestern University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of natural language processing (NLP) and computer graphics, particularly in the area of iconography and content retargeting. This offers her a unique perspective in an R&D team focused on data visualization. You can find out more about her research at

Carrie Gates, Dell Research

Dr. Carrie Gates is the Chief Scientist (Security) for Dell Research. She is responsible for leading security research that transforms the strategic direction of Dell's products and services. This is achieved through establishing collaborative research projects between Dell business units and university faculty and students.

Dr. Gates has over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the computer and network security field. She has given over 20 invited talks, submitted over ten patent applications (one awarded to date), served on thesis committees, taught courses, and is on several organizing and program committees for academic conferences. She co-authored an amendment on cloud security research for the America Competes Act that was signed into law in December 2010, was recognized for her work with a Women of Influence award from CSO magazine in October 2010, and was recognized by Diversity Journal’s 11th Annual Women Worth Watching in September 2012.

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  • Haim T.


    Thanks for organizing these meetups, I have been to all three and looking forward to more. My only comment is that I find three short presentations too many. I'd much prefer having two 45 minute sessions with no break.

    May 15, 2014

    • Predrag T.

      I am fine w/ 2 instead of 3 talks but my vote is to have a 10 min. break between them. Anyhow, it's up to the organizers.

      May 15, 2014

  • Kay K.

    I'd agree with Haim below--it would be great to have 2 presentations so we can have more time for the presenters, and some more Q&A.

    Topics of interest to me:
    1) What tools do people normally use for creating visualizations
    2) Examples of unusual metrics and visualizations produced for regular corporate consumption (e.g. status, exceptions etc.)

    May 15, 2014

    • Kay K.

      To clarify--"corporate­ consumption" in a business (not data center operations) setting, and ideally used for decision-making. Something a business analyst would produce.

      May 15, 2014

  • Predrag T.

    Interesting talks and good organization. Good pacing of talks and very decent food in the break area. My only complaint: The conference room was uncomfortably warm, being on the top floor it needed a/c.

    May 14, 2014

    • Maria C V.

      Predrag, thanks for coming to the event. We will make sure the a/c works well for future events.

      May 15, 2014

  • Predrag T.

    Interesting talks and good organization. Good pacing of talks and very decent food in the break area. My only complaint: The conference room was uncomfortably warm, being on the top floor it needed a/c.

    May 14, 2014

  • Ashok A.

    I will like to see what I m missing in my big data implementations from others.

    May 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would like to also hear how people are successfully monetizing their cool visualizations... what are the key hurdles and how they overcame them.


    May 7, 2014

    • Serge M.

      Dinesh, we are working on this

      May 8, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Darn, I will be traveling.

    April 24, 2014

  • Randall N.

    Looking forward to it!

    1 · April 24, 2014

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