M. Pauline Baker

National Center for Supercomputing Applications
University of Illinois
405 N. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801


National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, 405 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 244-1997 (voice)
(217) 244-2909 (fax)





Usability and User-Centered Design.


Visualization, task analysis, automated graphic design, intelligent interfaces.


The Task-Directed Visualization effort focuses on understanding the relationships between a scientist's analysis goals, the perceptual and cognitive tasks that underlie completion of those goals, and the type of visual representations that best support those tasks. Both desktop and virtual environments are considered.

Under this model, a researcher can direct system activity by specifying a particular analysis task, such as "Compare data set a with data set b. This is quite different from current practice in visualization tools, where activity is most often specified in therm of graphical entities such as raster images and color-lookup tables. The high-level task specification is combined with information about the characteristics of the data (dimensionaliity, size of each dimension, etc.) and these parameters are matched against a collection of visualization cases that the system knows how to handle. If a suitable match is found, the system retrieves the appropriate templated specification of a visual representation. The template is parameterized for this particular scenario and the display is automatically generated and presented to the user.


Directing the Display of Scientific Data through Task-Level Specifications, SIGCHI '96 (submitted).

Human Factors in Virtual Environments for the Visual Analysis of Scientific Data, with Christopher D. Wickens, NCSA-TR032, August 1995.

Cognitive Issues in Virtual Reality, with Christopher D. Wickens, in Virtual Reality and Advanced Interface Design, Thomas Furness and Woodrow Barfield (eds.), Oxford University Press, June 1995.

After the Storm: Considerations for Information Visualization, NCSA-TR029, January 1995, and in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, May 1995.

KnowVis: An Experiment in Automating Visualization, in Proceedings of Decision-Support Systems 2001, Toronto, September 1994.


Numerous researchers from many fields have turned in recent years to computer-generated graphics to assist in the analysis of data. The development of new observational instruments, such as those used in medicine and the earth sciences, as well as the increased availability of supercomputers, have resulted in an avalanche of data. Visualization offers a means to explore and understand complex, information-rich data sets by utilizing the high-bandwidth and atemporal character of the human visual system. Scientists in increasing numbers are recognizing the promise of visual data analysis, and are incorporating visualization into their research process.

Researchers in the visualization community develop techniques for presenting and interacting with graphical representations of data, design algorithms for fast implementation, and build systems for integrated problem-solving environments. Researchers addressing the virtual reality aspects of these problems also explore strategies for object selection, object manipulation, and navigation within the virtual data space.


Computer Visualization, Richard S Gallagher, CRC Press, Boca Raton FL, 1995.

Visual Cues, Peter Keller and Mary Keller, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos CA, 1993.

Envisioning Information, Edward R. Tufte, Graphics Press, Cheshire CT, 1990.


Virtual Environments. Other Communication Modalities. Adaptive Human Interfaces.