The (new) VIS 2013 Industry and Government Track

It always sounds weird to me when I have to explain how the  VIS Conference (formerly VisWeek) is not only for academics. Until now, I always had to use a number of convoluted arguments to explain it but now I have one more tool in my swiss army knife: the industry and government track. What does it mean? Well, it basically means that if you want to show your work at the conference you have a very specific track for industry and government work.

I think this is very useful for people who are not in academia and important to increase the dialogue between researchers and practitioners, so I decided to ask a few questions to the track chairs Danyel Fisher, David Gotz, and Bill Wright. Especially, I wanted them to explain how it works and why you should participate. And also how to convince your boss!

[Note: the deadline is very very close: June 27. I apologize for posting this that late but I hope you may still submit something. Also, from time to time submission deadlines get postponed, so keep an eye on it!]

The new deadline is July 3rd, 2013.

What is the Industry and Government Track?
The Industry and Government Track is ideal for people who work with visualization in their day-to-day jobs: whether building a visualization dashboard for a business intelligence application, or putting together charts and graphs to explain their products or policies to customers, or just exploring their own data. We want to help them participate, learn from, and teach the IEEE VIS community.

The Track consists of several components: a poster session for practitioners; a panel of invited talks from industrial visualization-users; and a series of other events through the conference—workshops, tutorials, panels, and papers—that are likely to be particularly interesting to practitioners. In addition, companies that use or create visualizations are invited to exhibit in our exhibition hall; a discount “startup” package helps small companies get exhibition space for a song.

Why this new track at VIS 2013?
The VIS conference has traditionally been an academically-oriented conference, with some of the most innovative work in information visualization and visual analytics. But it can also be a little bit insular: many of the cool visualizations don’t make it outside our community, and we aren’t necessarily aware of the challenges that drive the outside world.

That’s certainly not always true, of course: the VAST conference does a great job of watching how data analytics works in the real world; tools like Many Eyes and D3.js have made a substantial impact; and the conference attracts attendees from Microsoft, IBM, and Google, as well as a variety of government agencies and smaller companies. However, VIS 2013 would like to increase the amount of mixing between these communities. We believe that sharing ideas and building connections across these artificial boundaries would be beneficial to . We think that it is a great time for us to share our research with a broader audience—and we’d like to learn from the outside, too.

Who should submit to it and why? What can one get out of presenting a poster at VIS 2013?
Anyone who has solved an interesting problem with visualization—in the way they share it, or show it, or the angle they take on the data—is welcome to submit a poster. So is anyone who is working their way through a broad problem. A detailed Call for Participation with submission instructions can be found at on the industry and government track web page. The deadline for submissions is June 27, 2013.

Posters are a great way to share your work with the conference attendees. Posters will be displayed in a prominent location for several days at the conference, right next to the research and student posters that have been a traditional part of the VIS conference over the years. Attendees can browse the posters throughout the conference, and a formal poster reception gives brings large audiences to the poster gallery. In addition, there will be poster “fast-forward” held during a general session in front of all attendees. During the fast-forward, poster presenters can speak briefly about the main idea behind their poster. Finally, poster abstracts will appear in the published conference proceedings.

With all of these events, presenting a poster should give participants a context to more easily meet other interested conference-goers, and will get them broad exposure to the community. And of course posters aren’t the only reason to participate. We also encourage folks to join in the many other IEEE VIS events throughout the week.

Ok sounds great but … how do I convince my boss to fund my trip?
The best way to change someone’s mind about funding your trip is to focus on the business value that you’ll get from attending. And we hope that you’ll find it to be pretty easy argument to make.

For experienced visualization practitioners, attending IEEE VIS can connect you with new contacts from around the world. Leading experts from industry, government, and academic research centers all descend on IEEE VIS to talk about visualization, foster collaboration, and learn from each other. The variety of expertise that gathers from around the world makes VIS a great networking opportunity. But it isn’t just experts. VIS can also be a fantastic place to recruit fresh new talent as many of the top visualization students from around the world come to showcase their latest projects. And speaking of projects, VIS is a great place to learn about new developments in the field. Research talks showcase the latest work emerging from labs across the world. Learning from these presentations can help you keep your projects fresh and cutting edge as the field continues to evolve.

For those who are newer to the field, an added benefit is the opportunity to learn from experts from a huge range of backgrounds. Formal tutorials and workshops are a key part of the program and offer lessons or discussions on specific focused topics. Panel discussions are another great places to gain insights by listening to leading researchers or practitioners share their insights. The program includes several social functions and coffee breaks where you can borrow the ear of experienced visualization researchers and practitioners to gain insights into the problems you are facing in your own work.

And finally, if you are like many IEEE VIS attendees, you’ll come away inspired and overflowing with new ideas to bring back home. So tell your boss about all of the great things you’ll learn, the contacts you’ll make, the skills you’ll develop, and the energy and innovation that you’ll bring back home with you after the conference. That sounds like a winning argument to me!

Thanks Danyel, David, and Bill! I hope you’ll get fantastic submissions.


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