Zhicheng Liu

Designing and Understanding Visual Sensemaking


Welcome to my homepage.

I am a research scientist in the Creative Technologies Lab at Adobe Research. Before joining Adobe, I was a postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Computer Science of Stanford University, working with Jeffrey Heer. I completed my PhD in the Human-Centered Computing program at Georgia Tech in spring 2012, advised by John Stasko.

What’s New

Research Interests

A new kind of user is emerging in the era of big data. Dubbed data enthusiasts, these users are educated, but may not be well-versed in mathematics, statistics or programming. Nevertheless, they possess significant domain expertise and seek to answer important questions and to communicate insights based on both private and public data. Interactive visualization can be an effective tool for these enthusiasts to understand, analyze and present data. Current visualization tools, however, are often insufficient. Instead of focusing on their analysis questions, users spend time munging data, figuring out how to specify visualizations (sometimes with ineffective results), or struggling to cope with large data volumes. Moreover, as the data size scales, visualization tools tend to become unusable due to clutter and high interactive latency.

My research aims to overcome these limitations by developing tools to enable data enthusiasts to more effectively perform data analysis and visual communication. In terms of productivity, users should be able work with more data with reduced time and effort; in terms of usability, the tools should be accessible to non-technical users. My research in visual analytics addresses this goal through three research threads:

  1. novel interfaces for data modeling and visualization authoring
  2. user-centered visual analytic systems for domain experts
  3. computational methods for scaling interactive visualizations to big data

For details on my research work, please visit my Projects page.


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