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Target and the eScience Center to tackle Big Data visualization

22 April 2013
Facebook map of the world. Image Credit:Paul Butler
Facebook map of the world. Image Credit:Paul Butler

Target, the University of Groningen and the Netherlands eScience Center are launching in collaboration a new project that will focus on developing novel visualization tools for Big Data. Residing at the cross-border area between the fields of large-scale information systems, data visualization and visual analytics, the project aims at facilitating the process of human exploration and discovery by integrating different visualization techniques into Big Data information systems. The project will bring in the element of human cognition and reasoning and combine it with sophisticated data mining techniques to improve decision making and stimulate collaborative scientific exploration in often large-scale distributed Big Data environments. During the course of the project, the developed software tools for visualization will be implemented and tested in research and decision environments of different scales ranging from work stations to small and large decision theaters.

The project will run for two years with Edwin Valentijn (OmegaCEN, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute) as a PI and Jos Roerdink (Johan Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science) as a co-PI. It will employ research staff from both the University of Groningen and the eScience center in Amsterdam. Funded with close to half a million euros, this initiative will use the Target infrastructure to build a layer of interactive visualization tools for data access and manipulation. These tools will be made available to researchers on a number of different platforms. Along with individual work stations, these include the CIT theater equipped with a 10x2.8 m touch screen and ultimately the upcoming 3D full-dome theater Infoversum, which is currently under construction and is expected to open doors in June 2014.  The new visualization tools will combine methods from the recently emerged field of visual analytics with a new technique called "query driven visualization" developed by the Target partner, OmegaCEN (Budelmeijer, PhD2012). Query driven visualization was created for optical astronomy as a new access mining technique that efficiently links advanced visualization tools to databases containing catalogues and images of more than a hundred million galaxies that can reach hundreds of terabytes.

Optical astronomy is just one example of a field where data volumes are so big that sophisticated quality control and mining tools are required to find the needle in the heystack.  With Big Data becoming a part of almost every discipline, the need for effective visualization will only continue to grow. One of the goals of this project is to build on the concept of query driven visualization and introduce techniques from visual analytics to create visualization tools that are generic and applicable to different fields. As such, these new tools will be tested on currently ongoing project within Target like the KiDS public survey, GLIMPS, industrial applications and more. It is expected that results of these project will also be applied in other big initiatives in Northern Netherlands including Smart Grids (Hansa Energy Corridor), Energy Academy Europe, and IJkdijk.


Edwin A. Valentijn - Target coordinator, RUG
Jos Roerdink - Professor at Johan Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science, RUG     

Last modified:15 June 2016 09.31 a.m.

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