Sanders Series Lecture

Sheelagh Carpendale:
The Power of Alternate Representations

2017-01-10 12:30 at MaRS Discovery District, Bottom Level


To visualize data, one of the first steps is to develop a visual representation. This representation is a result of a mapping by which the data can be specified. Much has been said of about the power of these visual representations. Simon (1981) said that solving a problem is simply a matter of representing so as to make the solution transparent – implying that finding the right representation solves the problem. Card et al. (1998) said that interactive visual representations can amplify our cognition – can in effect make us smarter.  In spite of this, the small box in the visualization creation pipeline that signifies the development of the visual representation remains one of the least unpacked. Through examples from my own work and others’, I will discuss the power and potential of alternate visual representations.


Sheelagh Carpendale is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization and NSERC/AITF/SMART Technologies Industrial Research Chair in Interactive Technologies. She has received many awards including the E.W.R. NSERC STEACIE Memorial Fellowship; a BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts Interactive Awards); an ASTech Innovations in Technology Award; and the CHCCS Achievement Award. She leads the Innovations in Visualization (InnoVis) research group and initiated interdisciplinary graduate programs in Computational Media Design. Her research on information visualization, large interactive displays, and new media draws on her background in Computer Science, Art and Design (Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr, Institute of Art and Design, Sheridan College, School of Design). She has found the combined visual arts and computing science background invaluable in her information visualization research.