[Infovis] Call for Participation: IEEE VAST Challenge 2017

Whiting, Mark A mark.a.whiting at pnnl.gov
Thu Apr 27 00:42:27 CEST 2017

Announcing the IEEE VAST Challenge 2017 - Available Now!

Submission deadline is July 16, 2017 at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -9 hours).

The IEEE Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Challenge is an annual contest with the goal of advancing the field of visual analytics through competition. The VAST Challenge is designed to help researchers understand how their software would be used in a novel analytic task and determine how their data transformations, visualizations, and interactions would support users. VAST Challenge problems provide researchers with realistic tasks and data sets for evaluating their software, as well as an opportunity to advance the field by solving more complex problems.

This year's VAST Challenge concerns a sad state of affairs in a nature preserve, possibly involving the nearby community and local businesses.  There are three mini-challenges and a grand challenge to exercise your visual analytics prowess.

Mistford is a mid-size city is located to the southwest of a large nature preserve. The city has a small industrial area with four light-manufacturing endeavors.  Mitch Vogel is a post-doc student studying ornithology at Mistford College and has been discovering signs that the number of nesting pairs of the Rose-Crested Blue Pipit, a popular local bird due to its attractive plumage and pleasant songs, is decreasing! The decrease is sufficiently significant that the Pangera Ornithology Conservation Society is sponsoring Mitch to undertake additional studies to identify the possible reasons. Mitch is gaining access to several datasets that may help him in his work, and he has asked you (and your colleagues) as experts in visual analytics to help him analyze these datasets.

Mini-Challenge 1
The Boonsong Lekagul Nature Preserve is used by local residents and tourists for day-trips, overnight camping or sometimes just passing through to access main thoroughfares on the opposite sides of the preserve. While hiking through the various parts of the preserve, Mitch has noticed some odd behaviors of vehicles that he doesn't think are consistent with the kinds of park visitors he would expect.  If there were some way that Mitch could analyze the behaviors of vehicles through the park over time, this may assist him in his investigations.

Mini-Challenge 2
The four factories in the industrial area are subjected to higher-than-usual environmental assessment, due to their proximity to both the city and the preserve. Gaseous effluent data from several sampling stations has been collected over several months, along with meteorological data (wind speed and direction), that could help Mitch understand what impact these factories may be having on the Rose-Crested Blue Pipit. These factories are supposed to be quite compliant with recent years' environmental regulations, but Mitch has his doubts that the actual data has been closely reviewed. Could visual analytics help him understand the real situation?

Mini-Challenge 3
As Mitch works independently, he realizes that he cannot continually visit all areas of the preserve to inspect for environmental impacts as well as he would like to. He realizes that his analysis would be incomplete without thorough surveillance and knowledge of the preserve health over time. Fortunately, Mitch has acquired data from some multi-spectral imagers that have been routinely covering the nature preserve every few months. Mitch believes that a visual analytics approach can help him achieve an understanding of the preserve health and alert him to possible conditions that may be impacting his birds.

Grand Challenge
Mitch realizes that explorations into each of these three areas (covered by the mini-challenges) will reveal important, enlightening information. However, could there be relationships among discoveries made across two or even all of the investigations that could reveal even more about what is happening across the nature preserve and how it is happening. Mitch remembers that you mentioned to him how important it is to analyze not only what is happening, but the entire range of "who-what-where-why-when- and -how". This understanding will enable him to pursue positive steps in helping to save the Rose-Crested Blue Pipit.

Important Information about the VAST Challenge
Participants are welcome to enter one, two, or all three of the Mini-Challenges. Participants who complete all three mini-challenges may also enter the Grand Challenge. Entries may be submitted by teams or individuals. Submission deadline is July 16, 2017 at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -9 hours).  Entries will be judged based on the criteria appropriate to the specific Mini-Challenge/Grand Challenge. Selected award winners will be asked to present their submission at the VAST Challenge Workshop on Oct 1, 2017, during the IEEE VIS 2017 conference. Award winning participants will be contacted by August 11, 2017.

All Challenge participants are invited to submit a two-page summary of their entry for inclusion in the IEEE VIS 2017 electronic conference proceedings. These papers will be due August 15. All participants will also allowed to present a poster at the conference showcasing their work.

For questions, please email vast-challenge at ieeevis.org<mailto:vast-challenge at ieeevis.org>.

VAST Challenge Committee Chairs
Kris Cook, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Georges Grinstein, University of Massachusetts
Mark Whiting, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


1-6 October 2017
Phoenix, Arizona USA

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