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Title: The VAST Challenge: History, Scope, and Outcomes: An introduction to the Special Issue

Visual analytics aims to facilitate human insight from complex data via a combination of visual representations, interaction techniques, and supporting algorithms. To create new tools and techniques that achieve this goal requires that researchers have an understanding of analytical questions to be addressed, data that illustrates the complexities and ambiguities found in realistic analytic settings, and methods for evaluating whether the plausible insights are gained through use of the new methods. However, researchers do not, generally speaking, have access to analysts who can articulate their problems or operational data that is used for analysis. To fill this gap, the Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Challenge has been held annually since 2006. The VAST Challenge provides an opportunity for researchers to experiment with realistic but not real problems, using realistic synthetic data with known events embedded. Since its inception, the VAST Challenge has evolved along with the visual analytics research community to pose more complex challenges, ranging from text analysis to video analysis to large scale network log analysis. The seven years of the VAST Challenge have seen advancements in research and development, education, evaluation, and in the challenge process itself. This special issue of Information Visualization highlights some ofmore » the noteworthy advancements in each of these areas. Some of these papers focus on important research questions related to the challenge itself, and other papers focus on innovative research that has been shaped by participation in the challenge. This paper describes the VAST Challenge process and benefits in detail. It also provides an introduction to and context for the remaining papers in the issue.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Information Visualization, 13(4):301-312
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
visual analytics, sensemaking, evaluation, crowdsourcing