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Competition Entries

Entries to the 2019 Data Visualization Competition are listed below. View each visualization in full by clicking the thumbnail image or the visualization title.

Undergraduate Student Entries


thumbnail image of Hibiol time tracking web app
“Hibiol – A time tracking web extension based on cognitive dissonance” by Kevin Su

“With the recent discussions surrounding misinformation and personal privacy, there has been escalating concern over the effects of the internet and the attention economy. In response, Apple introduced Screen Time with iOS 12 and Google released Digital Wellbeing for Android. Both help users visualize and self-impose limits on how much time they spend on their mobile devices. These aids, however, are often tucked away behind menus, reducing their accessibility. They also focus primarily on total time spent, making it difficult to see apps we are constantly distracted by but spend little time on. In addition, fixed time limits are very rigid compared to our more fluid behavior. To accommodate for this, time limit mechanisms often include easy bypasses which obviate their purpose.

Hibiol visualizes your browsing history in your browser’s new tab page. A timeline displays information for today and a day within the past week. For both days, the 3 websites you spend the most time on and the 2 websites you visit most frequently are shown.

Instead of using onerous interventions, Hibiol uses high data visibility to create a consistent cognitive dissonance-based feedback loop. This lets us frequently adjust our expectations and actions to be consistent with one another.

Leon Festinger: Theory of Cognitive Dissonance”


thumnail of Mortality rate due to unsafe water compared to life expectancy and health expenditure
“Mortality rate due to unsafe water compared to life expectancy and health expenditure” by Sueun Choi

“While I graphed the mortality rate attributed to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene services I realized that countires with high rates had corresponding low life expectancies. Which led me to question whether or not the amount of money a country spends on health related resources affects these numbers. Adding the variable of Health Expenditure as % of total GDP to the graph I saw that there are some correlation between health expenditure and life expectancy or mortality rate. I believe that the size, population and total GDP each country possess skews the perspective of this graph. If I refer to the second graph where I show the percentages converted to amounts I can see that in general countries that spend less amount of money have the higher mortality rate due to unsafe water and lower life expectancies.

[All data comes from the UNDP]”


thumbnail image for Developing an Interactive Application to Analyze Detections of Nanotagged Birds Using R Shiny
“Developing an Interactive Application to Analyze Detections of Nanotagged Birds Using R Shiny” by Rachel Tham

“The first offshore wind turbines in the USA have been in operation since early 2017, near Block Island, Rhode Island. Nanotag detection data was analyzed from before and after turbine construction for two species of seabirds, Common (Sterna hirundo) and federally endangered Roseate Terns (Sterna dougalli), from a nearby breeding population in Long Island Sound. Our objective was to develop an interactive online application that visualizes summer 2016 (pre-turbine construction) weather data and corresponding detections from the Block Island automated radiotelemetry tower. The conditions during the 2017 boat surveys supported our analysis of the 2016 Block Island tower tern detections that terns were more likely to be active during high visibility, low precipitation, and average wind speeds of 11 mph. This analysis is displayed with the R Shiny platform. This provides a dynamic capacity to alter the time scale and filter categorical variables of the visual display so that researchers can more clearly and quickly understand data trends. This information is of use to study partners, including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in assessing the activity patterns of terns in the vicinity of Block Island, with respect to wind energy development.

This R Shiny app was created by Rachel Tham and Tyler Sym.
We would like to thank Dr. Holly Goyert, Dr. Pamela Loring, Mr. Kevin Rogers, Professor Curt Griffin, and Professor Paul Sievert for their guidance.
Summer 2017 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Wind Energy Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
This study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management through Interagency Agreement M13PG00012 with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”


thumbnail for Cinepath: A Visualized Interface for Cinematic Film Locations
“Cinepath: A Visualized Interface for Cinematic Film Locations” by Lilan Yang

“I have always been fascinated by films and where they take place with the eagerness to pinpoints these places on Google maps and visit during travels. Thus here comes Cinepath, a visualized interface for cinematic film locations. This is a personal voyage of cinema in terms of interdisciplinary studies with cinema and data visualization. The dataset was self-collected with available sources online such as IMDb yet its limitation was minimized by analyzing the film frame by frame and using street views. Then with these coordinates, I use webpages as the medium, Google Maps as the canvas, and Google Maps API as a drawing tool to create the animated paths that show where the director chooses to shoot the film. Right now it is still a prototype since two films have been visualized: Paris, Texas (1984) by Wim Wender and Frances Ha (2013) by Noah Baumbach. In the future, the plan for this project is to increase the number of films to better analyze director patterns throughout their careers.”


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“Change in Demographics” by Ching Fang (Merryta) Liu

“The focus of the dataset is to illustrate the change in demographics from the randomly selected countries from different regions of the world. The other dataset shows the difference between the female and male populations in the selected countries. We want to compare the population change in different age groups across different countries with different total populations. Also, examine how geographical location will influence the shift in different age groups. And also illustrate the change in female and male population from 1990-2018.

All presented ten countries have a decline in population under age 5, and the population above 65 either stays the same or have increased. The aging in population could have several social and economic impacts on the society. For example, the retirement number is over the workforce, which can become a pressure to the government in assisting and improving healthcare for the elder populations. As for the gender ratio, except for Saudi Arabia, the gender ratios are more equal. In addition, from the male and female population graph, we can see China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia have a big gap between males and females, in these countries, they might value males over females.

Made with Cynthia Liu
Dataset: 1 2 3


thumbnail for Profitability of Predicting the Results of Major League Baseball Games
“Profitability of Predicting the Results of Major League Baseball Games” by Suleman Bazai

“Statistical documentation in sports is important for outcome predictions. In baseball, statistics such as home runs, first base hits, and walks per game are insightful for determining which team will likely win a game. I have created a Python program that takes statistics like these to predict how many points a team will score in their next game, using the XGBoost algorithm. The result tells the predicted winner of any game. With these results, I created an interactive Tableau dashboard to visualize the profitability of this predictive program. This visualization shows the total number of times a team was predicted to win, along with the number of times this prediction was correct. Using these results and the moneyline multiplier, the amount a given bet will be multiplied by if correct, profitability for a team can be calculated. The visualization shows this profitability for the teams in the MLB when using this predictive algorithm. The view can be filtered on league divisions, profit, and the correctness ratio for teams. With this, it is possible to determine which teams the algorithm predicts correctly in such a way that betting on those teams is profitable.
Please view the dashboard in Fullscreen.”


thumbnail for UIUC Enrollment by County
“UIUC Enrollment by County” by Kajetan Haas

“This visualization uses the “Enrollment by Zipcode” data published by UIUC to illustrate which county students at UIUC are from.
The visualization was developed to illustrate which parts of the country are represented at UIUC and show the diversity of the university.”


thumbnail of Course Attributes of Teacher Excellence
“Course Attributes of Teacher Excellence” by Mingi Ryu

“Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign evaluates teacher excellence from Instructor and Course Evaluation. The diagram visualizes the correlation between teacher excellence and three different course attributes (GPA, Course Number, Course Capacity) to explore the impact of the attributes on the teacher ranking. One of the most significant findings of the visualization suggests that, for “Outstanding” ranking, there exist an inverse relationship between course capacity and course number.”


thumbnail for Every Class at UIUC, by GPA
“Every Class at UIUC, by GPA” by Matthew McCarthy

“This visualization displays the University of Illinois’ GPA Dataset with the user’s convenience in mind. The idea of the project is to make a new and improved version of the popular UIUC GPA visualizations made by Wade Fagen-Ulmschneider.

We decided that the most important information to display is the Average GPA and the variance of the grade distribution. The idea is that if there is a high average GPA and a low variance, there are more consistent high grades given to students. In general, this can be very useful information to students, professors and advisors.

When looking at this type of visualization, most users are interested just a couple of classes. This is why we implemented a search feature. This allows users to quickly look up the class they are looking for.

Since the circles color corresponds to a specific subject, the most interesting information is actually when you filter for more than one subject using the tabs feature at the top. This allows the user to easily compare two or more subjects. For example, if you click on CS and MATH, you can clearly see the difference of grade distribution between them.”


Graduate Student Entries


thumbnail for A Day in an Americans Life
“A Day in an American’s Life” by Pranay Parmar

“An interactive data visualization utilizing the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and Current Population Survey (CPS) data collected from over 200,000 interviews to surface some interesting facts about variations time usage patterns, for routine activities, across American geography and demographics. Provides insightful information for economic research, health and safety, and commercial businesses.

I wish to thank various people for their valuable contribution to this project:
Sarvani Putta, Beena Balakrishna, Smriiti Singhal”


thumbnail of Towards a Personalized Science of Cognitive Interventions
“Towards a Personalized Science of Cognitive Interventions: An Exemplar” by Aishwarya Rajesh

“This graph represents the results obtained from a mixed model analysis of a four-week acting intervention. Specifically, we found that the intervention group (who engaged in “acting” exercises and were trained by theater actors) showed more brain activation in a region attributed to reactive control. Reactive control is the ability to take actions in a “just-in-time” manner. In contrast, the control group (who attended an “Understanding the Art of Acting” theory-driven class) demonstrated lower brain activity in this region. This graph clearly illustrates group x time differences associated with the acting intervention, as well as differences at the level of the person. For instance, we find that individuals within the acting intervention group showed a lot of variation in brain activation pre and post- intervention (e.g., see differences in intercepts or “starting points” in this group and differences in slope direction). These individual differences may be attributed to person-level variables such as self-efficacy and perceived cognitive stimulation, or more structural factors such as gender. This information can be extracted from a closer examination of individuals showing differences in trends within each group. To this end, this graph facilitates the formulation of more personalized interventional approaches.”


thumnail of what is sepsis?
“What is sepsis?” by Negin Valizadegan

“Sepsis, an illness that affects millions of people worldwide every year, is a complicated and very heterogeneous life-threatening syndrome, wherein a host responds to infection with overt and wildly dysregulated responses leading to organ dysfunction. This image is a simplified depiction of the syndrome. The heterogeneity of the condition makes it difficult to pair precise immunological events to symptoms. The case here starts, as most cases do, with a lung infection. A pathogen and its pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) are strongly recognized by host immune cells leading to the expression of inflammation, and destruction of host tissue leading to further amplification of inflammatory signal. As the response becomes systemic, coagulation is strongly activated, and a rising anti-inflammatory response leads to immune cell dysfunction and immunosuppression and widespread coagulopathy. The syndrome can quickly progress to multi-system organ failure and death. The patient may initially present with a range of symptoms during the hyperdynamic phase that are readily confused with trauma, before possibly progressing to shock and death.

This work was prepared in collaboration with Dr. Jessica Brinkworth who made significant contribution to the idea behind the visualization and closely monitored and contributed to the design process. The visualization was created in Illustrator by Negin Valizadegan.”


thumbnail of how much will this new movie make
“How much will this new movie make?” by Aysa Fan

“How much (approximately) will a new movie make? Select movie genre and budget, then you will see the potential gross for a movie regarding different IMDB scores. Well, normally the higher the score, the more money it makes…but is it always the case? Drag the bar and check the boxes on this interactive visualization, and see it for yourself!

Used IMDB 500 metadata dataset.”


thumbnail of Polar Vortex: Visualizing Temperatures Across the US using a Voronoi Diagram
“Polar Vortex: Visualizing Temperatures Across the US using a Voronoi Diagram” by Robert Garrett

“As the frequency and intensity of climate anomalies continues to rise, it is important to have tools to quickly visualize their impact. On January 31st, 2019, Midwesterners in the US woke up to temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The National Climatic Data Center provides accurate information that we can use to analyze this event.

This nearest-neighbor (Voronoi) diagram with cells shaded to represent temperatures is an example of one such tool. The shaded regions you see partition the country into regions based on which weather station is closest. While methods exist that allow for smoother shading over geographic regions, Voronoi diagrams allow you to see the data recorded at each distinct weather station. While this quality is shared with scatter plots, the Voronoi cells fill the white space left by scatter plots to ease visual comparisons.”


thumbnail for 3 things you need to know about scholarships
“3 things you need to know about scholarships” by Yihan Zhou

“Scholarships play a important role in student’s university life.
It not only provides financial support, but also adds an honor to a student’s resume. UIUC provides a scholarship database where you can search by colleges and alphabets. Despite the existence of the searchable database, the information of scholarships has to been searched one by one. It will be difficult to capture the big pictures, which may help in navigate students through the large amount of opportunities

This visualization collected 1249 scholarships from the UIUC scholarship database. It then looked into the big data and revealed three things that are important for future scholarship applicants:
1. when is the best time to apply for scholarships?
2. how important is GPA in scholarship application?
3. are scholarships fair?”


thumbnail of "Odebrecht paid bribes to your politicians": Exploring people's reaction to the biggest corruption scandal in Latin America using Google Trends
“‘Odebrecht paid bribes to your politicians’: Exploring people’s reaction to the biggest corruption scandal in Latin America using Google Trends” by Irina Valenzuela

“Corruption, as defined as the misuse of public office with the purpose of making private gains, has become a serious problem in many countries, specially in Latin America. Since it is a secretive act, its measure has relied on the perception of corruption using standard surveys. However, nowadays, big data allows us to have an alternative source of information to evaluate this variable.

The visualization shows the web search intensity for the term “Corruption” [“corrupción” in Spanish and “corrupçäo” in Portuguese], as measured by Google Trends, in four countries: Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, during the last 10 years.

The highest peaks in the visualization corresponds to the media release of information related to Odebrecht’s corruption scandal. But, what is this biggest corruption scandal in Latin America?

Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company, was dedicated to build some of Latin America’s most important infrastructure projects. However, Odebrecht’s illegal operations were known thanks to the criminal investigation carried out by the Federal Policy of Brazil, called “Lava Jato” Operation. The corruption web involved more than $5 billion of illegal payments from Brazilian companies to public officers in many Latin American countries as an exchange for overcharging the true cost of their work.

Google Trends”


thumbnail of Student and teacher diversity in the United States across the years
“Student and teacher diversity in the United States across the years” by Lynda Lin

“The United States public school system is becoming increasingly diverse, with more than 50% of students in public elementary and high schools coming from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). However, the rise in student diversity has not been matched by an increase in teacher diversity, with teachers from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds comprising less than 20% of the teaching force (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). These large discrepancies in student and teacher diversity have led many organizations and policymakers to call for action to increase recruitment of racial and ethnic minority teachers as they advocate for the importance of teacher diversity in helping increase teacher quality and close achievement gaps (National Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force, 2004). Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, this data visualization highlights the dramatic changes in student diversity in the United States across the years and contrasts them with the correspondingly small increases in teacher diversity.”


thumbnail of Optimization of Lateral Position of Autonomous Trucks in a Platoon
“Optimization of Lateral Position of Autonomous Trucks in a Platoon” by Osman Erman Gungor

“Introduction of autonomous and connected trucks (ACTs) is expected to result in drastic changes in operational characteristics of freight shipments, which may in turn have significant impacts on efficiency, safety, energy consumption, and infrastructure durability. One such important change is the formation of truck platoons. Truck platoons will become more feasible and practical with the intelligent technologies existing in ACTs that enable the connection among vehicles and between vehicles and infrastructure. Reducing congestion and braking/accelerating and improving fuel efficiency are some of reported and expected benefits of platooning. Yet such platooning operations may accelerate the damage accumulation within pavement structures because the lateral position of successive trucks within a lane is expected to be similar (i.e., channelized traffic) and the time between two consecutive axle loads (i.e., resting time) is expected to be reduced. Therefore, this study develops a platooning-control strategy for a fleet of ACTs such that the lateral position of trucks and spacing between them can be explicitly optimized to minimize damage to the pavement, thus significantly reducing maintenance and rehabilitation costs. In the paper, the efficiency of the proposed strategy was demonstrated through a case study.”