October 29, 2008

VizSec 2008 and Ben Shneiderman’s Keynote

Filed under: Log Analysis,Visualization — @ 29th of October 2008, 15:06

image_thumb.pngVizSec is a fairly academic conference that brings together the fields of security and visualization. The conference had an interesting mix of attendees: 50% came from industry, 30% from academia, and 20% from government. I had the pleasure of being invited to give a talk about DAVIX and also participate on a panel about the state of security visualization in the market place.
The highlight of the conference was definitely Ben Shneiderman’s keynote. I was very pleased with some of the comments that Ben made about the visualization community. First he criticized the same thing that I call the “industry – academia dichotomy”. In his words:

“[There is a] lack of applicability of research.”

I completely agree and if you have seen me talk about the dichotomy, I outline a number of examples where this becomes very obvious.
The second quote from Ben that I would like to capture is the following:

“The purpose of viz is insight, not pictures”

Visualization is about how to present data. I am not always sure that people understand that.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared to capture what Ben said about my book (Applied Security Visualization.) He brought his copy that I had sent him. He talked about the book for quite a bit and specifically mentioned all the treemaps that I have used to visualize a number of use cases. I felt very honored that Ben actually looked at the book and had such great things to say about it. The following lunch with Ben was a great pleasure as well, filled with some really interesting visualization discussions.