Alex Endert
Assistant Professor
Georgia Tech, USA

Alex Endert is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. He directs the Visual Analytics Lab, where him and his students explore novel user interaction techniques for visual analytics. He is an active contributor to venues for human-computer interaction and information visualization (ACM CHI, IEEE VIS, IEEE TVCG, IEEE CG&A). He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Virginia Tech in 2012, advised by Dr. Chris North. In 2013, his work on Semantic Interaction was awarded the IEEE VGTC VPG Pioneers Group Doctoral Dissertation Award, and the Virginia Tech Computer Science Best Dissertation Award.

Session brief: This talk will focus on giving an overview of the cognitive, computational, and visualization components critical to understanding the exciting and impactful field of visual analytics. I will discuss fundamental principles, give examples of current technologies, and present future challenges.

Babak Akhgar
Professor of Informatics and Director of CENTRIC
Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Babak Akhgar is Professor of Informatics and Director of CENTRIC (Centre of excellence in terrorism, resilience, intelligence and organised crime research). Babak has more than 100 referred publications on security, OSINT, counter terrorism and cybercrime. He is principal investigator and technical lead in several multimillion Euros international security initiatives. He has co-edited two books on intelligence management – Intelligence Management: Knowledge Driven Frameworks for Combating Terrorism and Organised Crime, and Strategic Intelligence Management: National Security Imperatives and Information and Communications Technologies. Prof Akhgar latest books are titled Cyber Crime and Cyber Terrorism, An investigators handbook and Application of Big Data for National Security are published by Elsevier. In addition to his scholarly activities; Prof Akhgar is trustee of Police National Legal Database (PNLD), board member of European Organisation for Security and member of SAS UK academic board.

Session Brief: Situational Awareness (SA) in context of law enforcement agencies is the capability to identify (people, events, materials, intentions, location, relationships etc.), contextualise, visualise, process and comprehend the critical elements of intelligence about particular areas of concern. Areas of concern can be anything from new wave of crime to terrorism threats and or from radicalisation to cyber-crime. Using a number of practical case studies will discuss how integration of open-source intelligence (OSINT) and traditional intelligence sources can contribute to development of SA.

Bob Middleton
European Product Marketing Manager
Tableau, UK

Bob Middleton is European Product Marketing Manager for Tableau Software. Bob has 20 years experience in product roles in hardware and software with a strong understanding of the use of data to drive understanding and action in business environments. Much of Bob’s career has been in IT security, where data security is a constant battle between access and data leakage prevention. So Bob now has great empathy with IT departments who are being asked to open up data access for self-service analytics.

Session Brief: A hands-on introduction to visual analytics including the why and how of visualization best practices. There will be a little light theory, a demonstration of data investigation that has led to the demise of many SIM cards, and a chance to spend some quality time with Tableau.

Bryan Seeds
Principal Consultant
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)

Bryan Seeds works as a Principal Consultant at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) part of the UK Government’s Ministry of Defence responsible for the provision of scientific research and advice. He currently leads a work package focused on visualisation for data analytics, developing proof of concept tools to assist Intelligence Analysts in their day-to-day role. Bryan was instrumental in providing Dstl’s sponsorship for both VAST 2014 and VASS 2016. Recent areas of research have included Big Data and Cyber Defence, together with visualisation challenges in niche areas such as Pattern of Life and Tracking. With an engineering background in electronics, avionics and ICT, and an MSc in Information Systems, Bryan also has a good appreciation of human factors and champions the importance of good visualisation in getting information into the user’s head and reducing cognitive burden. He has a good awareness of VR/AR technologies, and although yet to see tangible benefit is forever hopeful!

Chris Baber
Chair of Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing
University of Birmingham, UK

Chris Baber joined the University of Birmingham 1990. He lectured on the MSc Work Design & Ergonomics course for some 9 years, specializing in human-computer interaction and ergonomics research methods. Since 1999, he has lectured on cognitive ergonomics and human performance. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002, to Reader in 2004 and to Chair in 2008. He has published some 75 papers in scientific journals and has written / edited 6 books. He has also contributed some 50 chapters to books and refereed conferences, and produced over 150 conference contributions. His research has been funded through over £3 million from EPSRC, EU, UK Industry and the Ministry of Defence. His initial research concentrated on speech-based interaction with machines. More recently, his research focuses on how everyday activity can serve as a means of interacting with computers, and has led to research into wearable computers and instrumented tools and clothing. In addition to research into technology design, Dr. Baber is also interested in modelling user performance, in terms of social network analysis, transaction time and error prediction.

Chris Weaver
Associate Professor
University of Oklahoma, USA

Chris Weaver is an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma. He holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Michigan State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a post-doctoral Research Associate with the GeoVISTA Center in the Department of Geography at Penn State, where he helped to found the North-East Visualization and Analytics Center. In 2013 he served as Conference Chair of the IEEE Conference on Information Visualization. His research in information visualization and visual analytics focuses on the development of techniques for highly interactive visual exploration and analysis of heterogeneous multidimensional data sets, with applications spanning the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. In 2014 he received an NSF CAREER award to enhance visualization with gesture-based data editing for exploratory learning and research in the digital humanities and beyond.

Session Brief: What if we could create and manipulate data directly inside visualizations? How would the visual representation of data affect what we can do to it? How could interaction allow us to express our ideas as data? I will offer a vision of visualization as an expressive workspace for observing and interpreting the world interactively.

David Windridge
Middlesex University, UK

Dr. David Windridge is Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Middlesex and heads the University's Data Science activities. His research interests centre on the related fields of machine-learning (A.I.), cognitive systems and computer vision (he also has a former research interest in astrophysics having obtained his Ph.D. in Cosmology at the University of Bristol).

He has authored and played a leading role on a number of large-scale machine-learning projects in academic and industrial research settings (including the EPSRC ACASVA and EU DIPLECS projects). He is particularly interested in cross-over areas of data science and has won a number of interdisciplinary research grants in areas as diverse as psychological modelling and proteomic classification. He is a Visiting Professor at Trento University, Italy, and a visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Surrey (he was previously a Senior Research Fellow within the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing). He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications.

Dustin L. Arendit
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA

Dustin L. Arendt received his Ph.D. in Computer Science & Applications from Virginia Tech in 2012 with a focus on complexity and network science. His dissertation explored techniques for the automated discovery of self-organizing complex systems models on large networks. After graduating, he became a National Research Council Resident Research Associate (postdoc) at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson AFB, with a focus on data science, machine learning, and graph visualization. Dustin has been a scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Visual Analytics Group since 2014. His interests now broadly include visualization and analysis of change within networks, including "storyline" visualization techniques.

Session Brief: The course will provide instruction on visual analytics for multivariate time series data using storylines, with a case study on the VAST Challenge 2014 data. Techniques will be demonstrated using python, featuring pandas, scikit-learn, and NetworkX.

Jasminko Novak
Professor of Information Systems
Stralsund, Germany

Dr. Jasminko Novak is Professor of Information Systems at the University of Applied Sciences Stralsund and Founding Chairman of the European Institute for Participatory Media in Berlin. His research is embedded in the area of Human-Centred Computing, integrating technologies and methods from Social Computing, HCI and Knowledge Visualisation. He has led and participated in various research projects funded by the European Commission, German and Swiss national funding bodies. His recent work focuses on the design and real-world piloting of applications combining human and machine intelligence for novel forms of collaborative knowledge visualisation and participatory systems. This includes application domains such as ICT for societal challenges, digital humanities, health and sustainability. Jasminko Novak is associate editor of the journal Human Computation and advisory board member for the iCom Journal of Interactive Media. He advises public institutions and companies on digital innovation and has served on the EC Expert Groups on User-centric Media and Future Internet.

Session brief: Designing effective visualisation tools for collaborative use, requires the integration of subjective perspectives of individual users, not only in the exploration but in the very generation of the visualisation. This talk will discuss the conceptual underpinnings, challenges, some experiences and benefits of realizing such an approach in practice.

Kai Xu
Senior Lecturer in Visual Analytics
Middlesex University, UK

Kai Xu is a senior lecturer in visual analytics at the Middlesex University, where he is involved in a number of visual analytics projects and the coordinator of the MSc by Research in Visual Analytics program. Previously he was a senior research scientist at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia National Research Lab. There he led a research team that designed and implemented the visual analysis systems for an A$100 million national cancer genomics initiative. Before CSIRO, Kai worked as a researcher at the National ICT Australia (NICTA), which is Australia's largest Centre of Excellence in IT. His visualisation work won the IEEE Visual Analytics Science & Technology (VAST) Challenge in 2012 and the International Graph Drawing Contest in 2006. Kai's main expertise is Visual Analytics especially visualisation and analysis of large and complex networks, designing and development of visual analytic software, and applying them to application domain such as social media and analytics provenance. He received his PhD in Computer Science in 2004 from the University of Queensland, Australia and dual BEng in Computer Engineering and Business in 1999 from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.

Kris Cook
Analytical Insights Technical Team Lead
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA

Kris Cook has been part of PNNL’s visual analytics team since 1996, and for five years managed PNNL’s visual analytics research group. She currently leads a team of visual analytics researchers. Kris has led numerous research and development projects in visual analytics, including the initial development of the IN-SPIRE visual text analysis software, which is now used in government and industry. Her current interests include the use of mixed initiative techniques to support analysis and the exploration of visual analytics techniques to support sensemaking using streaming data.

Leishi Zhang
Senior Lecturer
Middlesex University, UK

Dr Leishi Zhang is a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University, located within the Interaction Design Centre, School of Science and Technology. She is an active researcher in the field of Information Visualization, Euler Diagrams, Visual Analytics and Data Mining. A major theme of Leishi’s research is to develop data analysis and visualization techniques for extracting patterns and relations in large complex data. There are three main strands to her research: visual analytics on different application data, visualizing complex set relations and interactive visual projection techniques for analyzing patterns in high-dimensional data. She served as program committee member of a number of conferences and workshops including IDA, VAMP and VISUAL and published over 30 peer-reviewed papers in related fields including IEEE TVCG, Neurocomputing, SMCB, SMCC and VAST.

Session brief: Similarity analysis is an important task for many applications including business intelligence, biological research and criminal investigation. It helps identify patterns and relations in the data. In this session we discuss the main techniques that are involved in similarity analysis and their associated uncertainties.

Margaret Varga
Director/Chairman of the NATO Visual Analytics Research Task Group/Visiting Fellow
Seetru Ltd/University of Oxford, UK

Margaret Varga received her PhD in statistical pattern recognition from the University of Cambridge, UK,. She is a director at Seetru Ltd. and is the chairman of the NATO Visual Analytics Research Task Group, as well as a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford. Her research interests are in visual analytics, visualisation, uncertainty analysis, network analysis, evidential reasoning, provenance analysis and visualisation, Bayesian reasoning, pattern processing, financial systemic risk and stability monitoring, image processing. Dr. Varga led the team that developed the world’s first automated breast cancer histopathology diagnosis systems, and she holds seven patents for this system. She has over a hundred publications.

Session Brief: A bird strike is a collision between an aircraft and an airborne animal(s). Bird strikes pose seriousproblems for both civil and military aircraft. This case study paper discusses the application of Visual Analytics to understanding, exploring, visualizing and analysing strikes, the objective of the work isto address the management of strikes in and around airports.

Robert Biddle
Professor of Human Computer Interaction
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Robert Biddle is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he is appointed both to the School of Computer Science and the Institute of Cognitive Science. His qualifications are in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Education, and he has worked at universities and with government and industry partners in Canada and New Zealand. His recent research is primarily on human factors in cyber-security and software design, especially creating and evaluating innovative designs for computer security software. In particular, research projects have addressed novel forms of authentication, user understanding of security, security operations centres, and tools for collaborative security analysis. He has led research themes for cross-Canada research networks on human-oriented computer security, for software engineering for surface applications, and for privacy and security in new media environments.

Session Brief: Much of life is now online, and new challenges have arisen involving security infrastructure. Our partners have asked us to focus on human factors: situation awareness, workflow, and collaborative analysis. We have conducted field studies, and explored new kinds of software to help the human processes at the centre of this difficult yet critical work.

Robert Ghanea-Hercock
Chief Research Scientist
British Telecommunications, UK

Dr Robert Ghanea-Hercock is a Chief Research Scientist in the British Telecommunications Security Research Practice. He has over twenty years’experience in managing security research projects in the UK, and was theme leader for Networks and Cyber Security in the UK MOD Information Fusion Defence Technology Centre. His research interests include Cyber Security, A.I and Complex Adaptive Systems. He chairs an international workshop on adaptive cyber defence, and has over thirty international publications in AI and security concepts, in addition to fourteen filed patents. His latest book is on the theme of resilience and cohesion in social systems: (“Cohesion – The Making of Society”, available from Amazon.) Professionally he is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the British Computer Society. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the School of Computer Science at Southampton University, and Associate Fellow at the Said Business School in Oxford University. He has also served for several years as an independent technical expert for the UK Defence Science Advisory Council (DSAC), and was a Business Research Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico.His current research focus is on applying machine learning algorithms to Visual Analytics and Big Data.

Roger Beecham
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
giCentre, City University London, UK

Roger is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the giCentre, City University London. He is interested in using and developing visualization techniques in the analysis of large, social science datasets. Prior to his PhD, Roger worked in government and market research, most recently as a data analyst at YouGov. Roger is currently working on VALCRI: a four-year research project that aims to create new visual analytics systems to support crime analysis.

Session Brief: Roger’s talk will cover some of the challenges around uncertainty in data analysis. He will demonstrate how visualization may provide support to analysts when making decisions under uncertainty and when communicating uncertainty to non-technical audiences.

Russ Burtner
Senior User Experience Lead
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA

Russ Burtner is a Senior User Experience Lead on the Visual Analytic team with over 15 years’experience in HCI, software design and vision exploration. The focus of his research has been in collaborative analytic user experiences, natural user interfaces and human-in-the-loop analysis of large, complex, multi-modal data. Past work experience includes extensive product development with Microsoft, Alki Software, Disney and Oxygen Media. Current work areas for PNL are in user experience for multimedia analysis, cyber, signature discovery, smart grid, decision support systems, collaborative adaptive environments, and emergency response. His research interests are in Human Computer Interaction, Visual Design, Ethnography/Usability, Information Visualization, natural user interfaces, vision development and future Technology Trends.

Session Brief: Visualization has deep roots in storytelling. Russ will briefly cover its history, current state of the art and its evolution beyond analytics as it gets democratized to general knowledge work. He will discuss the importance of user centered design and the expanding persona of data. Lastly, Russ will talk about emerging technologies and challenges that could fundamentally change visual analytics in the next five to ten years.

Simon Attfield
Associate Professor of Human Centred Technology
Middlesex University, UK

Dr Simon Attfield is Associate Professor of Human Centred Technology at the Interaction Design Centre, Middlesex University. His research involves understanding how people think about and work with information, processes involved in sensemaking, and implications for interactive systems design, including the design and evaluation of information visualisation. He has conducted user-research in military signals intelligence and patterns of life analysis, crime-analysis, news writing, corporate investigations and healthcare. He teaches Human Computer Interaction and Interaction Design. He received a B.A. in Philosophy and a BSc. in Experimental Psychology from Sussex University, and a PhD in Human Computer Interaction from University College London.

Session brief: Working in teams, students will develop and report on their own visual analytics design concept to address a specific problem including a domain, stakeholders and sample data. The session will use problems from the IEEE VAST challenge and will be co-presented by a VAST Challenge Committee Chair (Kris Cook).

William Wong
Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Head of the Interaction Design Centre
Middlesex University, UK

Dr B.L. William Wong is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Head, Interaction Design Centre, at Middlesex University's School of Science and Technology. His research interest is in the representation design of information to support decision making in naturalistic environments. From a Cognitive Systems Engineering perspective, his research has included air traffic control, hydro-electricity dispatch control, emergency ambulance command and control, intelligence analysis and visual analytics, with the view of developing user interfaces that enhance information uptake and support decision making and situation awareness in real-time dynamic environments. He is recipient of over US$25.3 million in grants, and has been project coordinator for several US-UK and European Union multi-institution R & D project consortiums. Together with his students and colleagues, he has published over 100 scientific peer reviewed articles. He currently leads a 17-organisation R & D consortium funded by the European Commission called VALCRI - Visual Analytics for Sense-making in Criminal Intelligence Analysis.

Session brief: In this talk, participants will be introduced to sense-making and how analysts think and reason when using visual analytics-based systems, in the context of, for example, a criminal intelligence analysis environment. We will describe a number of analytic reasoning strategies, including how they cope with uncertainty and ambiguity, and the demands they make on how we design systems to encourage imagination, enable insight, ensure transparency, and engage with fluidity and rigour. We will discuss some of the human factors and ergonomics principles that underpin our designs of the user interface interaction and visualisation, and how analysts work to assemble and construct meaning.

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