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Visualizing Risk Contest 2012

We’re trying to solve a problem and we would like to invite you to help us . . .

We have far more data than we have time to read.  Sound familiar?  Then, you may be interested in joining the Student Visual Analytics Challenge Contest.

Visual Analytics is a relatively new approach that seeks to make sense of masses of data by leveraging human visual perception and cognition to explore the data to find new and interesting patterns.

The challenge will be open to all UBC and SFU students, but we are particularly targeting students in the following areas:


·         Computer Science

·         Library, Archival and Information Science

·         Finance

·         Cognitive Science

·         Interactive Arts and Technology


Students do not have to have prior exposure to visual analytics or knowledge of visual analytics tools and technologies – just a keen interest and willingness to learn about them.

There will be two challenge projects involving the use of visual analytics tools to conduct analyses:

Challenge Project 1 will involve using visual analytics tools (e.g., InSpire, Tableau and Starlight) to analyze RSS feeds containing textual data to identify as many different types of risks as possible and how these risks have evolved (e.g., their origins, progress over a time line). More info...

Challenge Project 2 will involve using visual analytics tools (e.g., InSpire, Tableau and Starlight) to analyze numeric data on bond, equities and commodities performance over a 15 year period in the US markets to generate insights to explore patterns and trends (e.g. portfolio divers. More info...

To participate in either, or both, of the challenges you will need to:

·       Choose a project to work on

·        Email by Wednesday January 11th with your preference for a project 

·       Work collaboratively in teams of two or three to learn about the available visual analytics tools and the specific challenge dataset you have chosen

·       Find novel and/or interesting patterns in the chosen dataset

·       Keep an individual journal while you work on your challenge project

·       Give a brief visual presentation on your analysis process and anything you've found


In the 2nd week of February students will present their analysis process to a small panel.  Cash prizes will be given to the 1st and 2nd place groups.  Winning the contest will be based not just on any interesting conclusions drawn from the data, but on the entire analysis process itself.  In other words showing that you explored various avenues and used the visual analytic tools to their full potential.