The Visualization Friday Forum

Fall 2006 * Noon-1pm * D106 LSRC

August 25 - Acclairism: Turning your Brainwaves into Currency
Eyal Fried
Shenkar College of Engineering and Design

I will take the opportunity to briefly introduce Acclairism, my ongoing thesis project, which will be exhibited at the ZeroOne art and technology festival in San Jose, August 7th-13th.

Acclair is a security and neuromarketing service that points to a new form of discrimination: Acclairism; a discrimination based on the individual's bio-data as a ticket to an elite class. Through Acclair, a company providing brain-testing services as part of an exclusive security clearance for air-travelers, my colleague and I explore a situation wherein people freely accept a highly invasive, highly authoritative technological manipulation in return for financial rewards and an upgraded social status. We illustrate and debate the financial and social benefits of such a system which, essentially, translates brain output into currency.

I will briefly present the technological, scientific, business and design aspects of the project, with the hope to give rise to a discussion over its potential applications as well as implications.

Note: Today only, the Friday Forum is being held in room 306 North Building

ZeroOne Art and Technology Festival:

Sept 1 - Visualization at Duke
Rachael Brady
Visualization Technology Group

Visualization applies the algorithms of computer graphics with the fields of perception and representation to communicate digital information visually. Visualization is used for presentations, art creation, data analysis, model validation, illustration, data exploration, entertainment, and cognitive studies. I'll start the fall term by introducing the Visualization Technology Group and the Friday Forum series. I'll fill you in on some of the happenings from last fall and the summer.

Click to view presentation

Rachael Brady:

Sept 8 - Stanford's iTunes Project
Victoria Szabo

Victoria Szabo, Program Director of Information Science + Information Studies recently joined Duke from Stanford, where she helped lead Stanford's equivalent of the Duke Digital Initiative. Come learn the trade secrets (and pedagogical underpinnings) of Stanford's iTunes collaboration with Apple. This session will describe how the project was conceptualized for various campus audiences, and how it fostered collaboration among folks who normally never saw or spoke to one another. We'll pay special attention to how the idea of serving the 'millennial student' catalyzed discussion among librarians, teaching and learning staff, tech infrastructure and networking folks, faculty, parents, administrators, alums, development officers, as well as random members of the online community. abstract.

Stanford iTunes:
Victoria Szabo:

Sept 15 - Visualization trends at RENCI
Ray Idaszak

In May 2006, the Collaborative Environments Group at RENCI embarked on a path to implement the visualization component of the RENCI Virtual Organization with targeted installations at five sites around the state including Duke, UNC, NC State, UNC-Asheville and ECU and anticipated to grow at a rate of at least 2 additional sites per year. Although early in the process, I will be talking about some of the visualization plans RENCI has for these sites as well as some background on my participation with the first Renaissance Team at NCSA in 1986 and how it has evolved to Renaissance Computing at RENCI today.


Sept 22 - Optical Coherence Tomography: an emerging technology for studying chick heart development
Anjul Davis
BME - Joe Izatt's Group

Congenital heart diseases (CHD) reflect a spectrum of abnormalities in heart structure or function caused by aberrations in development. Evidence has suggested that early heart development is influenced by dynamic changes in blood flow and pressure. Characterizing the relationship between blood flow and heart development may aid in understanding primary sources of CHD. The chick embryo is an attractive model for heart development in that they have short incubations times and they have 4-chambered hearts that develop in a similar manner as humans. Currently there is no technique available for noninvasively imaging and measuring blood flow in early stage chick hearts. We have developed optical coherence tomography for in vivo imaging of early stage chick heart development. 3D and Doppler images that were acquired in a live chick embryo will be presented.

Anjul Davis:

Sept 29 - MiX TAPEstry
Scott Lindroth

MIX TAPEStry is an interdisciplinary collaboration involving the Pratt School of Engineering and the Music Department at Duke and the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. MIX TAPEStry is an interactive, networked performance of music and graphics triggered by people moving under web cameras in the CIEMAS Studio and in the Krannert Art Museum at UIUC. The music is an adaptation of a hip hop track called "Lemonade" by Duke Adjunct Faculty member, Robi Roberts (a.k.a. J. Bully). J. Bully will perform his song while music and graphics by UIUC faculty member John Jennings are generated simultaneously at both locations. My presentation on the music of MIX TAPEStry will examine the ways we've applied data from the web cameras to musical performance.

Scott Lindroth:

Oct 6 - Picturing Science: A Look at How a Science Magazine Is Made
Rosalind Reid
American Scientist Magazine

In a science magazine pictures do much more than present data and decorate pages. They tell stories--explaining ideas, concepts, context and process--and can make a complex set of facts and questions intuitively accessible to a naive audience. We'll go behind the scenes for a look at how the ancient tools of two-dimensional illustration cut through the complexity of modern science.

American Scientist Magazine:
Rosalind Reid:

Oct 13 - Visualizing Evolution in Many Dimensions
Fred Nijhout

Development and evolution depend on genes and on the mechanism by which genes affect traits. The processes by which genes affect traits are highly interactive and mostly non-linear. This makes the relationship between genetic variation and trait variation contingent on the genetic background. We have been studying the development and evolution of body size in insects. Body size regulation cannot be understood by reference to single genes or networks of genes, but depends on the details of the (non-linear) interactions among many genes and environmental variables. Body size is a system property where no single factor is more "in control" than any other. We have developed a mathematical model, based on known mechanisms, that allows us to accurately predict the final body size of a individual, and this has led to various attempts to visualize how trait variation is related to genetic variation. I will present the most recent results of this work and show how some complex and nonintuitive genetic evolutionary responses to selection on body size can be understood through 3-, 4-, and 5-dimensional visualization.

Directly following the talk, we will walk over to FCIEMAS to view the data in the DiVE. Some results, such as the orthogonality of two vector fields is best viewed in 3D.

Fred Nijhout:

Oct 20 - Open Session
Discussion led by Rachael Brady
Visualization Technology Group

I invite participants to come to this session with "problem images" or "good images" on a flash drive. Consider this to be an open microphone where we will all discuss and critique images that are brought to the session. I will come prepared with a talk about 'How to make a chart in Microsoft Excel.' I also just received the DVD from Daniel Simons' group at UIUC entitled 'Surprising Studies of Visual Awareness.' These are very interesting examples of our ability to perceive.

Note: We did not have time to review the DVD from Daniel Simons' group. Please attend on Nov 10th when Steve Mitroff will present research on the topic of Change Blindness. We took a look at this incredible video from Harvard showing the Inner Life of a Cell.

Rachael Brady:

Oct 27 - The Duke Digital Initiative
Jessica Mitchell

I will be talking about the Duke Digital Initiative, its evolution, and the services that are coming online to support it. The Duke Digital Initiative (DDI) is a multi-year program of experimentation, development, and implementation of new and emerging technologies to explore their effective use in support of the university's mission. What does that mean for end users? Much more than iPods in the classroom... Find out what services and projects are underway with the Duke Digital Initiative, Digital Media Services, and OIT. These are services available to all Duke researchers, students, and faculty.

Click to view presentation

Duke Digital Initiative:

Nov 3 - Creating Database Narratives with The Korsakow System
Mark Olson
John Hope Franklin Center

In this presentation I will discuss the notion of "interactive database narratives" -- algorithmic systems for combining multimedia elements according to prescribed rules -- and demo one system for generating them: the Korsakow System. I will conclude with some reflections on the limits and possibilities of these new narrative technologies.

Click to view presentation

Mark Olson:

Nov 10 - Change blindness and what it can tell us
Stephen Mitroff
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

Large and salient visual changes that occur during a disruption often go undetected. This phenomenon, known as change blindness, can be used to ask questions about the nature of visual memory and attention. More specifically, it can be used to tease apart the contributions of forming, maintaining, and comparing representations. I will show a number of examples of change blindness (and the related phenomenon of 'inattentional blindness') and discuss potential implications.

Duke Visual Cognition Laboratory:
Stephen Mitroff:

'Surprising Studies of Visual Awareness':

Nov 17 - Medical Imaging at the Center for In-Vivo Microscopy
Jeff Brandenburg
Center for In-Vivo Microscopy

At the Center for In-Vivo Microscopy (CVIM), we make big pictures of small animals -- volume images up to a gigabyte or more, sequences of these volumes over time, and volumes acquired with multiple imaging modalities (MRI, X-ray/CT, ultrasound, and optical). Storing, viewing, analyzing and distributing this volume of data presents a number of challenges for today's computer hardware, software and networks. I'll review some of the problems we've solved, some we're still working on, and some we hope to tackle in the near future.

Center for In-Vivo Microscopy:
Jeff Brandenburg:

Nov 24 - Thanksgiving Break

Dec 1 - Visualizing and Analysing Patterns of Gene Expression
Uwe Ohler and Dan Mace
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

To determine the spatial expression pattern of a single gene, researchers in molecular biology have had a number of experimental techniques available for some time. In recent years, these techniques have scaled up drastically, and people have begun to use image data to visualize and analyze expression patterns on a large scale. We will show some examples from different model organisms, and then talk about our own research to determine tissue-specific patterns in the development of plant roots, during normal development and as reaction to changes in the environment.

Uwe Ohler's Research Group:
Uwe Ohler:
Dan Mace:

Dec 8 - Making Better Graphs: practical tips for academics
Mike Dickison
Biology Dept and OIT

Mike taught design and typography before coming to Duke to study giant flightless birds for his PhD. He is writing a book on graphing techniques for scientists, and maintains a blog on information design, Pictures of Numbers ( This Friday Forum will analyze some published graphs and charts for problems, and suggest makeovers. Mike is also interested in discussing with participants if scientists actually prefer cruddy-looking charts, and why this might be.

Duke VTG © 2004. All rights reserved. Do not copy or redistribute in any form
Website Comments to: Rachael Brady (

Last Modified: February 27, 2007