General Course Info

  • Instructor: Alex Godwin [alex.godwin (at)]
  • First Class: Monday, May 15
  • Time/ Location: Mon/Wed 9:30am-11:20am, Klaus 2456
  • Office Hours: Mon/Wed 12:30-2pm or by appointment, TSRB Vis Lab (3rd floor)
  • TA: Sydni Peterson [snp (at)]
  • TA Office Hours: Mon 2:30-4:30pm
  • TA: Abhishek (Abi) Tondehal [vtondehal3 (at)]
  • TA Office Hours: Tue/Thu 4:30-5:30pm
  • Prerequisites: CS1332 [Data Struct]

Information visualization helps people explore or explain data through interactive software that exploits the capabilities of the human perceptual system. A key challenge in information visualization is designing a useful spatial mapping of a dataset that is not inherently spatial and coupling that mapping to interaction techniques that allow people to intuitively explore the dataset. Information visualization draws on the intellectual history of several traditions, including computer graphics, human-computer interaction, cognitive psychology, semiotics, graphic design, statistical graphics, cartography, and art. The synthesis of relevant ideas from these fields with new methodologies and techniques made possible by interactive computation are critical for helping people keep pace with the torrents of data confronting them.

Academic integrity: Unless explicitly stated otherwise, you are expected to do your assignments and work on your own. Your project will be a collaborative effort among a group of students. For it, you may use libraries and code fragments from sources on the web that you integrate into an overall working system. Your source code should indicate what code is imported and used as is, what code is imported and modified, and what code is original. It is appropriate to discuss your project with others to gain ideas and feedback and help with sticky problems. It is not appropriate to find an existing infovis system, modify it and submit it as your own work. If in doubt, confer with your instructor.

All students are expected to adhere to the Georgia Tech Honor Code.

Course Overview

Readings should be completed before each lecture.

Week Dates Topic Reading Assignments Due
1 5-15 Intro VAD Ch 1
5-17 Data VAD Ch 2
5-19 HW0
2 5-22 Tasks VAD Ch 3
5-24 Validation VAD Ch 4, VST p. 5-15 HW1
3 5-29 No class Memorial Day
5-31 Marks & Channels VAD Ch 5 M1
6-2 HW2
4 6-5 Spatial Data VAD Ch 8
6-7 Tables VAD Ch 7, VST p. 16-31
6-9 M2
5 6-12 Guest Networks VAD Ch 9
6-14 Guest Rules of Thumb VAD Ch 6
6 6-19 Exam Midterm HW3
6-21 Color VAD Ch 10
7 6-26 Manipulate VAD Ch 11
6-28 Facet VAD Ch 12 HW4
6-30 M3
8 7-3 No class Independence Day
7-5 Reduce VAD Ch 13 HW 5
9 7-10 Embed VAD Ch 14
7-12 Case Studies VAD Ch 15 HW 6
7-14 M4
10 7-17 Text Overview of Text Visualization Techniques (Nan and Cui, Ch 2)
7-19 Visual Analytics Visual Analytics: Definition, Process, and Challenges (Keim et al.)
11 7-24 Deliverable Review and Discussion M5
7-26 No Class Reading Period
12 Jul 31 Exam Final Exam Exam: 8:00am-10:50am

Detailed Syllabus

Required Textbooks

Required Materials

  • 3x5 Index Cards
  • Paper
  • Writing Utensil

Optional Materials

  • Colored Pencils

Class Participation

It is expected that students will come to class, be prepared by doing the readings, and will pay attention and participate in discussions. Doing all three regularly will earn full credit. If you want to surf the internet on your laptop in class, take another course.

Any questions regarding general rules and regulations should first be directed to the Georgia Tech Catalog. If you still have questions, please seek out the TA or Instructor during the posted office hours.


Component Weight
Class Participation 20%
HW Assignments 20%
Semester Project 30%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 15%


Component Weight
HW0 Choose Ignite Topic & Set up Git 5%
HW1 Theory: Data 10%
HW2 Theory: Tasks and Validation 10%
HW3 Theory: Marks and Channels 10%
HW4 Design: Tables 15%
HW5 Design: Spatial Data 15%
HW6 Design: Networks 15%
HW7 Ignite Talk 20%

Project Milestones

Component Weight
M1 Pitch 5%
M2 Short Project Statement 20%
M3 Project Proposal 30%
M4 Status Update 10%
M5 Final Deliverable 35%

Late Policy

All assignments are due at the time indicated in the schedule. Late work is penalized at one letter grade per day starting with the day of submission. For example, an assignment turned in 10min late on the submission deadline is one day late, turning in 24hours 10min after the deadline is two days, and so on. This policy applies in all cases except medical or family emergencies. Too much other work, gone for the weekend, ran out of paper etc. are not emergencies.

Daily Schedule

  • 30-45min Lecture
  • 30-45min In-Class Activity
  • 10-15min Ignite Talks
  • 10-15min Open Discussion