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Conference The Big Picture -- Data Visualization Techniques

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Date: Friday, January 31, 2014
Location: 35 West Wacker DR, Chicago, IL

Conference Program

2014 CCASA Conference
The Big Picture: Data Visualization Techniques

Date: Friday, January 31, 2014
Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Location: 35 West Wacker DR, Chicago, IL

Conference Program:
8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast
9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Conference Welcome by John VanderPloeg, Conference VP
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Session One: Speaker: Dona Wong, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Morning break
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. Session Two: Speaker: Tom Schenk, Department of Innovation and Technology (City of Chicago)
Lunch Session Three: Ink Factory
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Session Four: Speaker: Nicole Lazar, University of Georgia
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Session Five: Speaker: Veena Mendiratta, Alcatel - Lucent
3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Afternoon break
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Session Six: Speaker : Heike Hofmann, Iowa State University

Conference Fee (Dona Wong's Book "The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics: The Dos and Don'ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures") will be included for all attendees

Member $105

Non-Member $140

Student $70


Speaker Bios and Abstracts:

Dona Wong

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Presentation: Telling Compelling Stories with Data


We live in a data-driven world, where effective graphics are key to the delivery of information. When a graphical piece of information is done right, you can’t tell that there is design behind it - information flows to the viewer clearly and efficiently.

Dona Wong will demonstrate:

+ How to turn data into a compelling, persuasive story

+ How to use graphics effectively in your presentations

+ The Dos and Don’ts of information graphics — common pitfalls and how to avoid them

About the speaker:

Dona Wong is the author of The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics. She is the former graphics director at The Wall Street Journal, where she was responsible for setting the graphics standard for all feature and breaking news graphics. Previously, she served as a business graphics editor at The New York Times. Dona is an expert in conceptualizing and producing information graphics that are easily understood by millions of demanding readers on a daily basis. In addition, she has advised Fortune 500 companies and major government agencies on strategic communications. Drawing on her years of experience as a strategist of visual communications, she will offer her insights on how to influence with clear, concise, and intelligent graphics.

Tom Schenk

Department of Innovation and Technology (City of Chicago)


Like many fields, data visualization is a rapidly expanding field with numerous interpretations. Whether it’s statistical graphics, data visualization is a powerful and useful tool for exploration and communications. Sometimes, great examples of data visualization are herculean efforts that are difficult to accomplish. This presentation will discuss a pragmatic implementation of data visualization in daily activities. We will discuss various types of data visualization and their appropriate role in business and government. In addition, the common and best tools to create data visualization will be discussed.

About the speaker:

Tom Schenk is a researcher, author, and an expert in a number of fields, including data visualization, open government, research, and education policy. He is currently the Director of Analytics and Performance Management at the City of Chicago, which oversees the strategic deployment and use of data throughout the city. This responsibility includes the City of Chicago open data portal and data dictionary, which provides transparency to the public on the city’s data. He also oversees Chicago’s advanced analytics program, which uses predictive analytics, optimization techniques, and evaluation methods to improve the efficiency of city operations.

Tom is experienced in data visualization for daily business activity and in policy. Tom authored Circos Data Visualization How-To, an introductory book on using the biology data visualization program for use in the social sciences. He maintains, a site of curated examples of data visualization and influences for data visualization projects. He has written numerous data visualization-oriented reports used by policymakers.

Prior to joining the City of Chicago, Tom was a senior Analyst at Northwestern University’s Department of Medical Social Sciences and visiting scholar with Iowa State University’s Office of Community College Research and Policy. He also worked at the Iowa Department of Education, where he led research on longitudinal research of student outcomes and coauthored Iowa’s STEM roadmap. Tom also served as lecturer at Grand View University, where he taught statistics and economics. He earned a Master’s Degree from Iowa State University and a Bachelor’s from Drake University.

Ink Factory

About Ink Factory:

You talk. We draw. It’s awesome.™

You may have heard the buzz around graphic recording (also known as visual note-taking, scribing, data visualization, etc). If you have ever experienced it, you know the impact it has on the entire meeting or brainstorm.

Ink Factory has over 20 years of combined graphic recording knowledge. We’re a trio of resourceful, creative, well-rounded, funny, levelheaded, intelligent, thoughtful karaoke-singing bandits that will allow you, your company (or your client) to break free from the normal business meetings. We will make sure you get the most out of your brainstorm talks, your annual meetings, your strategic development sessions, your daughter’s birthday party planner or any other situation where data retention and idea generation needs to happen . . . fast.

By actively listening and synthesizing your discussion, brainstorm or keynote speech, we transcribe your words into real-time, hand drawn visuals. These visuals are the combination of written text and images that represent thoughts, concepts, key messages, strategic visions or just a simple summary of your conversation.

Nicole Lazer

Department of Statistics

University of Georgia

Presentation: Data Visualization and Effective Communication


We often teach data visualization as part of exploratory data analysis (EDA). While it is certainly true that effective plots can be useful at the exploratory stage of an analysis, they are also critical for the conveyance of information after an analysis, at the point of communicating results to a broader audience. Yet this spect of visualization tends to be downplayed. Even in professional publications in statistics and other journals, it is not unusual to find results reported in tabular form when a plot would be much more effective. The dvent of Big Data presents new visualization challenges for both exploration and communication, as we need to find ways of pulling out the information in massive, complex data sets. In this talk I will give my perspective on these questions, with examples.

About the speaker:

Nicole received a BA in Statistics and Psychology from Tel Aviv University. After three years as the Statistics Officer for the Israeli Defense Forces Behavioral Science Research Unit, she came to the US for graduate school. She received her MS in Statistics from Stanford University and her PhD in Statistics from the University of Chicago, working with Per Mykland on empirical likelihood. From 1996 to 2004 she was faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, where Bill Eddy introduced her to functional magnetic resonance imaging data, sparking her continued interest in the area. Since 2004, she has been at the University of Georgia as Professor of Statistics. Her primary research interests include empirical likelihood theory and the analysis of functional neuroimaging data. She is actively investigating areas such as model selection, multiple testing, data visualization and their applications to Big Data.

Veena Mendiratta


Presentation: Storytelling with Data


In the past, much of the work and research in data visualization has focused on data exploration and analysis with not much emphasis on ways of presenting and communicating data or for crafting stories with analysis results. Weaving facts into a story is an effective way of presenting facts and making a point. More recently the storytelling potential of data visualization is gaining traction. Major news organizations now incorporate dynamic graphics into their print and TV journalism. Newsmakers often use interactive visualizations as a backdrop for stories on various subjects. This talk will discuss the different genres and approaches of narrative data visualization and present several data visualization examples of storytelling.

About the speaker:

Dr. Veena Mendiratta is the Practice Lead for Network Reliability and Analytics in the Bell Labs CTO organization at Alcatel-Lucent in Naperville, Illinois. She began her career at AT&T Bell Labs 29 years ago. Her work has focused on the reliability and performance analysis for telecommunications systems products, networks, and services to guide system architecture solutions, and on telecom data analytics. She has led projects to develop anomaly prediction algorithms for wireless networks and Customer Experience Analytics using data mining and social network analysis techniques. Current work includes using data mining methods for improving performance of wireless networks and on cloud reliability engineering for telecom applications. Dr Mendiratta received a BTech in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India and a Ph.D. in operations research from Northwestern University, USA. She is an Adjunct Professor in the MS in Analytics program at Northwestern University.

Heike Hofmann

Iowa State University

Presentation: “Discussion of Visual Inference”


How do you know if something you see in a data plot is really there?

Statistical inference for exploratory data analysis allows us to quantitatively assess the strength of a visual finding, and places statistical graphics in the context of classical inference. New work builds on the lineup protocol, which puts graphics into an inference framework that examines the data plot in relation to null plots. This talk various aspects of the development of graphics inference: definition of terminology and concepts, experiments conducted to validate the lineup protocol, how to compute p-values and power. Application of visual inference in practice will be discussed. This includes how to choose the best display and also includes scenarios where no classical test exists because critical assumptions are violated.