This project researches how to make interactive visual analysis a core concept integrating different steps of workflows. The common objective is to significantly reduce time for certain tasks as compared to current workflows which are based on isolated software with typically limited interaction and visualisation capabilities.
Interactive visualization has proven to be an appropriate technology for a flexible and human-centric approach to data analysis in a wide range of applications. However, there is still no adoption of this technology on a large scale in some application domains that could benefit significantly. The main goal of the project VICEWORK is to bridge the gap between powerful interactive visualization concepts like linking+brushing and focus+context, and the daily needs of users to fulfill particular tasks. These tasks are closely related to the application domains of the participating company partners.
For AVL, this is providing a tool chain for supporting the development of powertrain systems. In this context, a key task is the optimization of engine designs by analyzing multiple simulations runs as issued for different points of a multi-dimensional parameter space. For Plasmo, a key task is the efficient quality assessment of welding seams that have been manufactured for different conditions over time. For fas.research, an important task is to support the process of deriving decisions and actions from impact matrices as defined in collaborative workshops.
In all cases, visualization is necessary to provide insight into complex data. Moreover, workflows play an important role in all these tasks. Interactive visual analysis has the potential to significantly improve these workflows as a core concept for integrating different steps and tools. The business value of the project VICEWORK is to significantly increase the efficiency for performing essential tasks. Besides time, another benefit is to facilitate testing “what if” scenarios, which should encourage users to try solutions that would otherwise remain untested in many cases and thus to improve the ultimate quality of results. Finally, we expect that offering interactive visualization as a technology that goes far beyond standard user-interfaces and static graphics will become an important selling argument of the companies for their products.
From a scientific point of view, adapting interactive visualization to be applicable to complex real-world tasks is a major topic in the field of Visual Analytics. Finding a good trade-off between flexibility and complexity, scalability and performance, powerful novel visualization techniques and acceptance by experienced users is a challenging field of research that involves know-how from visualization, human computer interaction, cognitive sciences, statistics, and application-specific domain knowledge. In addition to these high-level goals, the project also addresses various specific open research questions, e.g., the analysis of families of function graphs with complex characteristics as shown in the image. Many of these questions arise in different application contexts, which explains the benefit of the multi-firm nature of this project. For example, comparing results for different input parameters is an issue that arises in the context of all three industry partners.