Visual analytics is the science of analytic reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. It focuses on visual representations and interaction techniques that help users to see, explore and understand patterns in large collections of information. Its purpose is to help the user develop insight and make appropriate decisions about actions that should be taken in problems characterized by very large quantities of data that are of varying and indeterminate relevance, and that may be uncertain in any of a variety of ways. Visual analytics interfaces support decision evolution in a wide range of domains that contain irreducibly complex “wicked" problems-- biotech and biomedical technology, nanotechnology, design of complex artifacts and preventing and responding to acts of terrorism and natural disasters. Academically, visual analytics is an applied psychology of human thought and action.

The visual analytics theme aims to explore an important and virtually unknown space of design possibilities in interfaces for visual analytics; and to provide to other themes new knowledge and exemplary scientific research methodology.

The initial impact will be in visual analytics for homeland security, disaster relief, and crime prevention. We will contribute knowledge and design methods to VA developers worldwide, to better enable them to insure the safety of their citizens. This will be a major Canadian contribution to this important international goal.


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