W01: Novel approaches to visualizing big data sets

ICBO workshops W01 W02 W03 W04 W05 W06 W07 W08 W09 W10 W11 W12 W13 W14


ICBO 2016 Workshop #W01


Novel approaches to visualizing big data sets

Workshop type

Discussion group (Talks + Discussion) and Demo


Eugene Zhang, Oregon State University

Co-organizer(s) Yue Zhang
Website N/A
Workshop Abstract

Ontologies in biology provides an excellent opportunity for interdisciplinary research that connects biology and visual analytics.

There is much data on plant and animal ontology. Yet, to make sense of the data and gain critical insights from it is a difficult task. The data is not only large in its size but also complex in the richness of information that it contains. Compounded with the fact that more information is becoming available on the daily basis, traditional approaches to see the data (heatmaps, bar charts) are becoming inadequate.

Big data visualization and visual analytics can provide a critical element in addressing the problem. The domain scientists can not only inspect their data but also interact with it. This enables the full cycle of data inspection, hypothesis forming and verification. This also allows multiple data quantities of different types to be visualized simultaneously.

Another aspect of big data is the uncertainty that it may contain. Uncertainty, while already exists for smaller data sets, is of much larger scale for big data. Uncertainty visualization, along with multi-field visualization, are two of the four emerging visualization challenges recently identified by the experts in the visualization community.

Our proposed workshop will bring together the experts in big data visualization and visual analytics. They will present the state-of-the-art research in big data visualization as well as discuss and project the future of big data visualization.


Visualization is a relatively new topic for ontological biology. Therefore, we advocate for a separate workshop that hopefully can help connect visualization with biology and eventually make ontological visualization a main-stream topic in ontological biology. In addition, we suggest that we open up the field to not just ontological visualization but big data visualization, which we believe that crucial in enabling visualization to contribute to biology.

The workshop can be attended by researchers and students in both visualization and biology, thus facilitating early connection between biology and computer science for the young researchers as they work to identify their future research directions.

Funding source (if any) N/A