Thursday, September 9

ben fry's zipdecode — and a whole host of visualization projects

Who is Ben Fry?
Ben Fry is a doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Laboratory. His research focuses on methods of visualizing large amounts of data from dynamic information sources. This work is currently directed towards "Genomic Cartography" which is a study into new methods to represent the data found in the human genome.
From biography | ben fry
His primary project website
There is a space of highly complex systems for which we lack deep understanding because few techniques exist for visualization of data whose structure and content are undergoing continous change. My research focuses on developing approaches to such data, in particular, the human genome.
Ben's zipdecode project
This project began a very short sketch (a few hours) that I created because I was curious about how the numbering works for zip codes in the states.
Anemone project is a visualizer for website traffic. It processes log files and not only maps link structure based on users paths through a site, but also shows the usage of links and pages by the thickness of the interlinking lines and size of the plotted pages. I wish I could get this to analyze my server stats. quicktime video

The premise is that the best way to understand a large body of information, whether it's a 200,000 word book, usage data from a web site, or financial transaction information between two multinational corporations, is to provide a feel for general trends and anomalies in the data, by providing a qualitative slice into how the information is structured. The most important information comes from providing context and setting up the interrelationships between elements of the data. If needed, one can later dig deeper to find out specifics, or further tweak the system to look at other types of parameters.

Other visualization experiments, people and supporting institutions

GroupC / Casey REAS
An aggregation of autonomous cells, a series of projects by
Casey REAS and collaborators
Processing 1.0 _ALPHA_
Processing is a programming language and environment built for the electronic arts and visual design communities. It was created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook.
D|MA - UCLA Design & Media Arts Program

bitforms A new York gallery, "representing progressive artists who explore inventive ways of interpreting and visualizing."

Casey Reas Previously, Associate Professor, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy. Currently Design for Interactive Media. UCLA D|MA. Fall 03

Also previously...
From June 1999 - July 2001, I worked and studied within the Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory. During this time, my work shifted from experiments in interface and information design to work in computational kinetic sculpture. The common thread in this work was the study of dynamic reactive systems that receive and process input as a means of generating and altering visual compositions. The systems I built were computer programs written in C and Java that ran on both high-end computers and microprocessors. I began creating purely digital screen-based compositions using a mouse and keyboard as input and over time I began creating physical sculptures which use sensors such as cameras, microphones, and sonar to receive data from the environment.

During my time with the ACG, I exhibited my work at the American Museum of Moving Image, the Ars Electronica Center, the Cooper Union, the New York Digital Salon, the Museum of Modern Art, Sega Joypolis, and Siggraph. I was also fortunate to have my work published in a number of books and magazines.

Before joining the ACG, I worked as a Design Director at I/O 360 Digital Design in New York City and prior to that I was an interface and print designer at Two Twelve Associates and Design/Writing/Research. In June 1996, I received an undergraduate degree from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati.
From casey reas @

Design By Numbers program at MIT Media
Design By Numbers was created for visual designers and artists as an introduction to computational design. It is the result of a continuing endeavor by Professor John Maeda to teach the 'idea' of computation to designers and artists. It is his belief that the quality of media art and design can only improve through establishing educational infrastructure in arts and technology schools that create strong, cross-disciplinary individuals.

DBN is both a programming environment and language. The environment provides a unified space for writing and running programs and the language introduces the basic ideas of computer programming within the context of drawing. Visual elements such as dot, line, and field are combined with the computational ideas of variables and conditional statements to generate images.
WebCamXtra / Myron is an open source project to detect, visually interpret and motion track objects.

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