Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Fri Sep 14 2001 - 18:55:07 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] Intelligence Integrates Pictures, Text, Time"

    STRONG DISAGREEMENT - "A picture is worth a thousand words."

    Here's what some world-class scientists say about their need for visualization technology:

    "We have all experienced the contrast between hearing (or reading) a description of a person's face, as opposed to seeing a
    picture of the same face. The picture instantly conveys information to our minds which allows us to recognize a familiar
    individual. The narrative description may never convey enough information to arrive at the same conclusion. This ability of the
    human mind to rapidly perceive certain types of information, makes information visualization a useful and often necessary tool.

    Information Visualization is a highly efficient way for the mind to directly perceive data and discover knowledge and insight
    from it.

    Information Visualization is the direct visualization of a representation of selected features or elements of complex
    multi-dimensional data. Data that can be used to create a visualization includes text, image data, sound, voice, video - and of
    course, all kinds of numerical data. Our visual analysis systems also provide the tools to interact with the data that has been
    visualized so that users can explore, discover and learn. Users do not look at static images, but can subset the data, run
    queries, do time sequence studies and create categories and correlations of data type."
    < >

    Examples of important visualization tools:
    < >

    Eric Armstrong wrote:

    > Alex Shapiro wrote:
    > > Have you
    > >
    > >> > checked
    > >> > out this paper by the
    > >> > way? What to you
    > >> think?
    > >
    > The examples in this paper appear to me to reinforce the principles I
    > posited
    > in a post quite a while back. Graphics work when there is
    > * a small set of
    > * fixed data types
    > * small sets of relationships
    > That allows one icon to be associated with each type. The graph can then
    > show
    > patterns or locations of the items. Graphs run into problems in one of
    > three ways:
    > 1) When the number of types grows large, there are too many icons to
    > keep track
    > of, and no meaningful patterns emerge.
    > 2) When the number of relationships grows large, the intersecting
    > lines in any
    > graphic representation turns the picture into a confusion.
    > 3) When the number of entries grows large, items are far removed from
    > each
    > other, and the other end of any given relationship is rarely
    > visible in a given
    > display area.
    > I note that the examples used in this paper have exactly two data types:
    > a location
    > at the top level of the hierarchy, and something else (presumably a
    > "job" type) at
    > the second level of the hierarchy. I note that no information about the
    > job is
    > contained in the graph. So the "information content" only goes one
    > level deep.
    > At the top level, the only information is the name of the location.
    > Presumably, there
    > is a link to other information that would help to explain why a given
    > location is good
    > or bad for jobs, but the graph itself contains little or no pertinent
    > information on the
    > subject.
    > At the second level of the hierarchy, the *only* information is the
    > number of jobs.
    > (Assuming that I am correctly interpreting the intent of the diagrams.)
    > The
    > individual bubbles would be useless for keeping track of jobs. They are
    > already
    > getting small and hard and select. And it would take different types of
    > icons to
    > present any useful information.
    > Given these limitations, I don't see how graphing techologies apply at
    > all to
    > collaborative design/discussion tools or a knowledge base, given the
    > huge
    > volume of information such a tool needs to manage, the vast array of
    > information types, and the exponentially exploding number of
    > interconnects.
    > Perhaps TheBrain has something that could provoke a change of mind. I
    > can't say I've seen it (or recall what I saw, if I did). But as a simple
    > example,
    > how would any of the information contained in this message be captured
    > in
    > a graph? Were it done, in what way would such a graph be of use to
    > anyone?
    > I simply do not see graphing technology as useful in any substantive way
    > in a knowledge-engineering context. It's GREAT for visualizing small
    > systems, which makes it a wonderful tool for teaching. It gives people a
    > mental model of the systems. But in actual use? I'm still inclined to
    > pass,
    > I'm afraid.
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