UIC CS Professors Andy Johnson & Barbara Di Eugenio received new NSF grant on democratizing visual analysis
CS Professors Andy Johnson (PI) and Barbara Di Eugenio (co-PI) received a new $333K NSF grant entitled "CHS: Small: Collaborative Research: Articulate + - A Conversational Interface for Democratizing Visual Analysis” that runs from October 2020 to September 2022. Dr. Moira Zellner, now of Northeastern University, is also on the grant. This part of a larger overall award of $500K that also includes Jason Leigh at University of Hawaii.
This research will use speech, gesture, and log data as new input interaction modalities for visual analytics. It will develop new understandings of how the imprecise and vague nature of natural language queries and gestures, as contextualized by work on a specific visual analysis problem, can be modeled as an opportunity for an intelligent software system to learn more about the underlying intent of the users. This model of intent, in turn, will be used to provide contextualized visualizations, which are expected to help those users gain valuable insights from their data. The audio speech data will be used to computationally model overhearing, to help infer users' current contextualized goals. The gesture data will be used to disambiguate expressions that refer to visual elements of visualization (e.g., "that pie chart about electricity consumption"). The project will develop new understandings of how to combine the log of visualization state, the computational model of overhearing, and the gesture data in order to generate new visualizations in support of users? work on tasks. Evaluations will be performed in both controlled laboratory and naturalistic study settings to determine whether effective semantic parsers can be derived for these specific visual analysis domains, and how this contextual interface affects users? experience of visualization and discovery. The integrated annotated datasets from the studies will be made available to the research community satisfying a need for ecologically valid situated language interaction corpora.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.