Note: Each student will contribute and tag one quantitative graphic, with an explanation of its appeal, every week, by Monday at midnight. Instructions for how and where to upload will be provided during the first week of class. The list below only includes any special instructions about a particular week’s graphics. Please note that one graphic is required every week. Click on dates below for slides and other files mentioned in class.

Week 1: Introduction to Data Visualization + Origins of Modern Epidemiology

  • 1/28 TIntroduction, with a Brief History of Quantitative Graphics
  • 1/30 ThSaved by the Beer (How modern epidemiology evolved from John Snow’s work on cholera.)
  • Sectionspecial sessions scheduled tofamiliarize students with software tools
  • ReadingsTufte VDQI Chapter 1,; account of cholera epidemic in Tufte pamphlet on “Visual and Statistical Thinking”
  • Homeworksubmit your first quantitative graphic; this week choose one in a field that particularly interests you

Week 2: Show Me the Numbers, with Style

  • 2/4 TPart 1 Discussion of student interests, based on student-contributed graphics; Part 2 QuickIntroduction to Edward Tufte’s Design Principles, using relevant historical and modern examples; Part 3 Demonstrations of Relevant Software
  • 2/6 ThGraph’s Anatomy —dissecting the elements of a simple graph to understand their value and how choices about style influence import
  • beaed graphics)
  • ReadingsTufte VDQI Chapter 2, 3, 4, Yau, as-needed
  • Homework Project Set 1, ”Health”: Re-imaging John Snow’s Cholera Map (distributed, due 2/17)

Week 3: Style and Truth

  • 2/11 T Style ↔ Substance—how can good design let us “show the numbers”? (Data-Ink ratio; Chartjunk; Static vs. Interactive)
  • 2/13 Th Showing Scale, Relative and Absolute
  • SectionPowers of 10 Video, and how one might re-make it today (show/discuss alternatives). What were design choices? Did technology of 1977 limit options in any important ways?
  • Readings Tufte VDQI Chapter 5, 6, 7, Yau, as-needed
  • Homework find specifically “infographics” for next week’s section

Week 4: Statistics and Linked Views

  • 2/18 T Ranks and Distributions
  • 2/20 ThGUEST LECTURE on Linked Views (Chris Beaumont)
  • Section “Infographics”— how quantitative are they? Are they useful? (using student examples)
  • Readings TufteVDQI Chapter 8, 9, and Epilogue
  • HomeworkProject Set 1 due 2/17 Project Set 2: Design Reviews & Statistical Display Challenges (distributed, due 3/10)

Week 5: Show me the Numbers (but How Much is Too Much?!)

  • 2/25 TThe Lie Factor
  • 2/27 Th Human Cognition(featuring GUEST SPEAKER Michelle Borkin--at Radcliffe Meeting)
  • Section Discussion of student Project Proposals; mid-semester evaluation discussion
  • Readings Yau, as-needed, plus finish Tukey article
  • Homework(draft) Project Proposal due 2/25;submit final proposal online by 2/27

Week 6: Maps & GIS

  • 3/4 T Maps and Geometric Projection(“Art” andgeometry)
  • 3/6 Th Geographic Information Systems (including SIM City & ESRI)
  • Section Geometry Review
  • Readings Yau, as-needed, plus WATCH "An Inconvenient Truth" on Amazon Instant Video or YouTube (either is $2.99) Reference material on map projections: http://www.progonos.com/furuti/MapProj/Normal/CartHow/cartHow.html.
  • Homework Project Set 2 due 3/10;

Week 7: Crowdsourcing and Reaching the Right Audience(s)

  • 3/11 TGUEST LECTURE on Many Eyes and interactive visualization strategies, Martin Wattenberg & Fernanda Viegas (Google)
  • 3/13 Th Live Presentations of Data (Slideware and Beyond!)
  • Sectionspecial topical discussion: Music and Visualization (notation, iTunes “visualizer,” “sonification” of signals)
  • Readings Michael Friendly’s Brief History of Data Visualization(over Break)
Spring Break

Week 8 When to buy an ark? (statistics and uncertainty)

  • 3/25 TPrediction, Modeling and Fitting, Climate Change in Context
  • 3/27 Th Take-a-Sweater (understanding how sure to be of a weather forecast); SPECIAL GUESTS Bill Barthelmy and Eric Floehr
  • SectionHistorical examples
  • ReadingsStatistics review, as-needed
  • Homework Project Set 3 (Take-A-Sweater and more) distributed 3/27; Research Project Progress Report due on 3/28 at noon; Project Set 4 data collection wil be explained on 3/27; submitted graphic for following week should show “high-dimensional” data

Week 9: Escaping Flatland: What, really, are “Dimensions”?

  • 4/1 T Does the distinction between literal and figurative “dimensions” matter? Should we look at economic forecasting data like we look at heart imaging or global warming studies? How are “information” visualization and “scientific” visualization related?
  • 4/3 Th Techniques for showing N-D data in <N-D spaces. What can we learn from artists?
  • SectionGuest talk from Plotly co-founder
  • Readings “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint” by Edward Tufte, plus tba
  • Homework Data collection for PS4 due on 4/4.

Week 10: Play-time: “Off the Desktop” Experiences

  • 4/8 TWorldWide Telescope and the Kinect; Medical Visualization with Haptics
  • 4/10 Th Visits to the Scientists Discovery Room and Harvard Map Collection
  • SectionStudent project presentations.
  • Readings Entry on Natural User Interface
  • HomeworkProject Set 3 due 4/8, Project Set 4 released 4/10

Week 11: TMI — TMI: Big Data and its (Interactive) Visualization

  • 4/15 T What is “Big” Data & how does it change anything?
  • 4/17 Th When to go interactive, and how.
  • Section Student project presentations.

Week 12: Image and Meaning and Student Project Presentations

  • 4/22 TImage and Meaning (in-class workshop, with GUEST HOST Felice Frankel (tbc))
  • 4/24 Th EMR19 Fair (student project presentations)
  • Section(optional—extra help from TFs on student project submissions)
  • HomeworkProject Set 4 due 4/22

Final Class Meeting

  • 4/29 T Summary—Can there be a “theory” of quantitative graphics?
  • May 1, 2014 Final Projects due.