Computer-based visualization (vis) systems provide visual representations of datasets designed to help people carry out tasks more effectively. Visualization is suitable when there is a need to augment human capabilities rather than replace people with computational decision-making methods. The design space of possible vis idioms is huge, and includes the considerations of both how to create and how to interact with visual representations. Vis design is full of trade-offs, and most possibilities in the design space are ineffective for a particular task, so validating the effectiveness of a design is both necessary and difficult. Vis designers must take into account three very different kinds of resource limitations: those of computers, of humans, and of displays. Vis usage can be analyzed in terms of why the user needs it, what data is shown, and how the idiom is designed. I will introduce and discuss this framework for analyzing the design of visualization systems and developing effective designs for data across a variety of application areas.


A leading light in Information Visualization, Tamara Munzner has published over sixty academic articles since 1991, with more papers during the 20-year history of IEEE InfoVis than any other author. 

Tamara's new book - Visualization Analysis & Design - is a major contribution to the discipline: long awaited, much needed and receiving rave reviews.

At City, Tamara will outline the approaches to visualization presented in the book which asks - how do we design systems that use visual representations of data to help people carry out data dependent tasks more effectively?

"Tamara Munzner is one of the world’s very top researchers in information visualization, and this meticulously crafted volume is probably the most thoughtful and deep synthesis the field has yet seen."
—Michael McGuffin, École de Technologie Supérieure

 Prof. Tamara Munzner with the  MizBee multiscale synteny browser

Prof. Tamara Munzner with the MizBee multiscale synteny browser

Tamara's  research interests include the development, evaluation, and characterization of information visualization systems and techniques from both problem-driven and technique-driven perspectives.

She has worked on problem-driven visualization projects in a broad range of application domains including genomics, evolutionary biology, geometric topology, computational linguistics, large-scale system administration, web log analysis, and journalism. Her technique-driven interests include graph drawing and dimensionality reduction.

Her applied design work, and efforts to develop methodologies for applied visualization are highly influential and very relevant to a broad range of the data-led research in the school.

  • the Nested Model paper is used widely as means of conducting valid visualization research.
  • the description of a Design Study Methodology has led the way in structuring and describing approaches to applied visualization. 

Co-chair of EuroVis in 2010 and 2009, and InfoVis in 2003 and 2004, Tamara chairs the IEEE VIS Executive Committee and is a member of the InfoVis Steering Committee. 

Tamara was a founding member of the BioVis Steering Committee, and a Member At Large of the Executive Committee of the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee (VGTC) from 2004 through 2009 and gave a keynote presentation at BioVis 2014 in Boston last summer.

A professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia, Tamara holds a PhD from Stanford and has consulted for or collaborated with many companies including Agilent, AT&T Labs, Google, Microsoft, Silicon Graphics, and several startups.


Everybody from City is  welcome to Tamara Munzner's talk - we're very lucky to have her call by on her way back from Dagstuhl and the talk may provide areas for discussion around Visualization, Data Science and applied work in these areas within and beyond the school.

Friends from elsewhere are welcome to come too, but should contact Jason Dykes in advance - we need to organise access to the College Building.