Thursday, October 28, 2010

Talk: Sherry Turkle of "Second Self", Nov 4

Terry Shurkle is a well known expert in the sociology of technology, and her book "The Second Self" is very well known. She'll be talking on November 4, 4pm at the NCSU student center on the topic "Alone together: new intimacies and solitudes of the digital age."

Paper: GeneaQuilts: A System for Exploring Large Genealogies

In collaboration with Anastasia Bezerianos, Pierre Dragicevic and Jean-Daniel Fekete of INRIA, we recently published a paper applying quilts, our new visualization for layered graphs, to genealogy. Anastasia will present the work at this week's Info Vis conference.
You'll find the citation after the break.

Find: Soft Dev viz - pretty, interesting, jumbled

From uc Davis. Pretty but a bit of a jumble when things get interesting. 

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Software Evolution Storylines

Software Evolution Storylines:

An interesting way to visualize software creation, showing the interactions of developers over time (via Flowing Data).

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Find: Taxonomy of Rap Names

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Exploring computational thinking

How about computational design?

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Exploring computational thinking

Take a minute to think back to some of your past science fair projects or lab experiments. What elements did they have in common? What elements were different?

While every project or experiment may have been unique in the problem they were trying to solve, they all followed the same basic template of title, problem, hypothesis, materials, procedure, data and results, and conclusion. This ability to notice similarities, differences and trends is called pattern recognition. The ability to then extract out the unnecessary details and generalize those that are necessary is called pattern generalization, which leads us to an abstraction.

These are just some of the problem-solving skills that we apply when we design and run an experiment. Other skills include decomposition (the ability to break down a tasks into sub-tasks, e.g., when we specify each of the materials that we'll need to conduct the experiment) and algorithm design (the ability to build a repeatable, step-by-step process to solve a particular problem, e.g., when we create the procedure so that others can understand our process and run that same experiment).

All of these skills make up what we consider to be computational thinking (CT), a set of techniques that software engineers at Google and elsewhere apply all the time to write the programs that underlay the computer applications you use every day, including search, Gmail and Google Maps. Not only is this 21st century skill critical to being successful in the field of computer science, it's also increasingly important to several careers outside of our industry given the ubiquity of technology in our lives today. As a result, many universities have expanded their traditional majors to now also include studies where key components involve computing. For example, computational neuroscience is the study of how the brain learns and computes, using computational principals to understand perception, cognition, memory and motor behaviors; while computational linguistics involves developing algorithms to process natural languages.

With this changing educational landscape in mind, a group of California-credentialed teachers along with our own Google engineers have developed a program called Exploring Computational Thinking, which is committed to promoting CT throughout the K-12 curriculum to support student learning and expose everyone to this critical set of skills. Similar to some of our other initiatives in education, including CS4HS and Google Code University, we're providing educators with access to our curriculum models, resources and communities to help them learn more about CT and discuss it as a strategy for teaching and understandi...

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Rise & Fall of

Post mortem of The first web viz co. By kosara at charlotte. 

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The Rise & Fall of, a SF-based startup funded by C/Net Founder Halsey Minor quietly shut down. Quite a shame considering big data visualization is so hot. The groundbreaking data visualization company had thousands of users (I was one of them). Less than ten paid for it.

WatchMouse Transaction Monitoring: Set up a public web status page in six minutes!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Find: Newsmap Displays News as a Treemap

Treemap of news. Shows top headlines weighted by coverage. Better than an ordered list?

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Newsmap Displays Local and World News as a Treemap Visualization [Visualization]

Newsmap Displays Local and World News as a Treemap VisualizationNewsmap is a news aggregation tool that organizes news stories, by popularity and volume of reporting, in a visually pleasing treemap—making it extremely simple to see what's going on and how much coverage it's receiving.

At Newsmap you can display news by category (such as World, National, Business, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, and Health) as well as by country (such as U.S., U.K., Spain, Mexico, France, and more). You can combine countries and categories to interesting effect, like selecting only technology news across several countries to see a weighted map of what news stories are popular in each country.

Mousing over a story provides a small pop-up summary and image; clicking on any square in the treemap directs you to the story. You can use the site without registration but registering offers customization and article tracking features such as hiding read articles, toggling previews, adding and removing countries, tweaking the colors and font, and setting what your home view will be. Newsmap is a free service.

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