Final Project

Project proposal due: Mon Nov 5, 2018 by 4:30pm (before class)
Project presentations due: Mon Nov 12 by noon
Final presentations due: Wed Dec 5 by 4:30pm (before class)
Final code and paper due: Sun Dec 9 by 11:59pm


The purpose of the final project is to provide hands-on experience designing, implementing, and evaluating a new visualization method, algorithm or tool. Projects will be carried out by a team of up to 3 people. Your project should address a concrete visualization problem and should propose a novel, creative solution. The final deliverable will be an implementation of the proposed solution and a paper written in the format of a conference paper submission. Projects generally fall into two categories:

  1. Research projects involve making a novel contribution to the domain of visualization and typically include a software artifact or a user study/evaluation of a visualization technique.
  2. Data analysis projects involve analyzing a new data set and producing an interactive visual exaplainer of the most interesting findings you uncover in the dataset (in the style of the or the New York Times).

In addition, each group will be responsible for presenting the project twice. The initial presentation should describe the visualization research problem that the project will address or the data set you will analyze, the relevant related work, current progress, and final milestones. Take advantage of this presentation as a chance to get feedback on the direction of the project from the rest of the class! At the end of the class we will have a public final project poster session so that groups can show their work to others and a number of invited guests from academia and industry.

Prior to starting your project, it is helpful to gain a sense of what goes into formulating a successful visualization project. We encourage you to read the following guidelines for writing visualization research papers. It is an enjoyable read and should help you avoid common pitfalls, even if you do not have a research focus:

*Process and Pitfalls in Writing Information Visualization Research Papers, by Tamara Munzner.

Suggested Project Topics

To get you started in thinking about project ideas we have a number of final project suggestions for you to consider.

In addition, Edward Tufte’s site is another place to look for project ideas. His question/answer area is full of ideas that would make good class projects. If you are interested in conducting human subject experiments, Stephen Few has put together a collection of possible questions to explore.

Several previous visualization courses have had project components. Browsing through the final reports may help you think about what you might like to do. These descriptions may also help you determine the realistic size and scope of a project.


Project Proposal (due Mon 11/5 before class)

As a first step you should create a project proposal that includes the names of the members of your group and a short (1 to 2 paragraph) description of the visualization problem you plan to address. You should submit the proposal via Canvas.

Upload your final project proposal to Canvas.

Project Progress Presentation (in class 11/12 and 11/14)

A good way to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your project is to present your ideas to your classmates for feedback. Thus, each group will be expected to present their project idea and current status to a subset of the class. The presentation should expand on the the project proposal and include the following material.

Your presentation to the class should include:

  • A description of the problem or dataset you will address and motivation explaining why it is worth addressing.

  • In your description you should mention 1-2 pieces of the most relevant prior work, and discuss how your project is different.

  • Your current progress. Use sketches, storyboards, and/or prototype images to communicate your ideas. It is a good idea to highlight issues of design or implementation for which you would like to get feedback from the class. End your talk with a single slide containing questions you’d like feedback on.

  • Keep your presentation concise – no more than a few (3-4) minutes. Use at least half of that time to discuss your design ideas and completion plan. It is difficult to communicate effectively in such a short time span: carefully revise your materials and practice your talk to avoid rambling and unnecessary description.

You should also submit a written progress report, which includes:

  • Literature review. A background survey of related work and a full list of references.

  • Project plan. A list of milestones breaking the project into smaller chunks and a description of what each person in the group will work on.

The literature review and the project plan should not be in your slide presentation.

Submission: Submit the slides and written progress report by noon on 11/12 (even if you are presenting on 11/14) via Canvas.

Upload your progress slides and report to Canvas.

Presentation Order

Please remember, that regardless of the day you are assigned to present, your presentation must be submitted on Monday noon before class.

Monday 11/12

    • Jen Cardona
    • Alison Chen, Carmelle Millar, Sydney Hutton
    • Travis Chen, Michelle Lam, Lucy Wang
    • Garrick Fernandez
    • James Hong
    • Chris Yoon, Karen Huynh, Kashif Nazir
    • Darby Schumacher, Ian Jones
    • Sidra Ijaz, Rebecca Lane
    • Chenchen Pan, Flora Wang
    • Allison Park

Wednesday 11/14

    • Brennan Shacklett, Jennifer Tao
    • Claire Shu
    • Junwon Park, Alexa Siu
    • Pin Pin Tea-mangkornpan
    • Stephanie Wang
    • Angelica Willis, Matthew Ventures
    • Yinchen Xu
    • Jia Yao, Jiaxi Chen, Ziran Zhang
    • Chun Wang, Kexin Yu
    • Jessica Zhao

Final Project Poster Presentation (due Wed 12/5 in class)

We will hold a public presentation of the final projects on Wed Dec 5, from 4:30pm to 6pm at Lathrop 282. The poster session will give you a chance to show off the hard work you put into your project, and to learn about the projects of your peers. Be prepared to give a 5 minute oral presentation at your poster to both the instructors and visitors. You should include a demo of your project along with the poster. The poster will be considered a final deliverable, so don’t forget to apply good visual design principles to your poster as well as your project. The final poster should include the following information:

  • Problem: A clear statement of the problem or data set your project addresses.

  • Motivation: An explanation of why the problem is interesting and what makes it difficult to solve.

  • Approach: A description of the techniques or algorithms you used to solve the problem.

  • Results: Screenshots and a working demo of the system you built.

  • Future Work: An explanation of how the work could be extended.

Posters can be printed at Lathrop Library, Fedex on campus store, Costco ($25) or Walgreens ($24). They normally have a 2 day turnaround, but, as usual, it’s better to print earlier. You can order online and pick it up from the store. Please talk to us if you need help printing your poster well in advance of the poster presentation session.

We will provide easels, poster boards, pins and tapes for you to mount your posters.

Submission: Submit the pdf of your poster via Canvas.

Final Project Deliverables - Code and Paper (due Sun 12/9 by 11:59pm)

The final deliverables will include:

  • Code: an implementation of your system (source code and executable).

  • Paper: an 6-8 page paper written in the form of a conference paper submission. The paper should present related work, a detailed description of your system and a discussion of your design.

Submission: You should submit your final deliverables (access to a running executable and a zip file of the code, or a link to a github repository as well as a pdf of the paper) via Canvas.


The final paper should be in the style of a conference paper submission. The paper should include content that is typical of papers that appear at IEEE Visualization, SIGGRAPH, or CHI. In particular it should contain:

  • Introduction - An explanation of the problem and the motivation for solving it.

  • Related Work - A description of previous papers related to your project.

  • Methods - A detailed explanation of the techniques and algorithms you used to solve the problem.

  • Results - The visualizations your system produces and data to help evaluate your approach. For example you may include running times, or the time users typically spend generating a visualization using your system.

  • Discussion - What has the audience learned about visualization from your work?

  • Future Work - A description of how your system could be extended.

Your final paper should be formatted using the 2 column formatting of papers that appear at IEEE Visualization, SIGGRAPH or CHI. Although there are some differences in format between these conferences, you are free to pick from any of these three. If you need help finding a formatting template talk to us. Formatting templates for IEEE Visualization can be found here.