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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

Empowering the Masses: Democratizing Data through Visualizations

Friday, November 17, 2023 | 11:00 AM

Uncas A. Whitaker Hall, 218
6760 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

Nam Wook Kim
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
Boston College

From understanding the world around us to informing decision-making and driving innovation, data is pivotal in our daily lives. However, extracting insights from data and effectively communicating them often requires complex statistical techniques, software, and programming languages that can be daunting for those without specialized knowledge or training.  A central question guiding my research is, “How can we make this data more accessible to broader audiences beyond just data-savvy experts?” This is where data visualizations step in, offering a powerful means of distilling intricate information into more digestible, intuitive forms. 

Building on this premise, I will outline my research framework aimed at enabling individuals to create, evaluate, and comprehend data visualizations that are now ubiquitous across disciplines. First, I will showcase innovative visualization tools to interact with data for diverse stakeholders such as designers and data journalists. Next, I will introduce strategies that equip practitioners to assess the quality of their visualizations, both to counteract misinformed designs and bridge the existing knowledge gap. Lastly, I will shift to enhancing inclusivity in data visualization, where I will delve into our ongoing work on data visualization accessibility for blind and low-vision people. I will wrap up the talk by exploring future directions, emphasizing the transformative potential of recent AI advancements to broaden data accessibility for everyone.

Event Type

Seminar/Colloquia

Schools

McKelvey School of Engineering

Topic

Science & Technology

Department
Computer Science & Engineering
Event Contact

cody.copeland@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Nam Wook Kim is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Boston College, where he directs the Data Within Reach lab (http://dwr.bc.edu/). His research is driven by a vision to enhance data usability, striving to bring it within reach of broader audiences from diverse backgrounds, including designers, journalists, and educators. He navigates through this challenge by investigating innovative methods in the fields of data visualization and human-computer interaction, with the goal of enabling people to have an enriching experience with data. NSF and various non-profit organizations support his current research. His prior work has been recognized with awards from ACM CHI, ACM UIST, and the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards. Before joining Boston College, he earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Harvard University, supported by the Siebel Scholars program and the Kwanjeong Educational Foundation.

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