Focused-PVA: Progressive Visual Analytics for Focus+Context Techniques

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Computer Science program. The position is available from 1 February 2019 or later.

Title:
Focused-PVA: Progressive Visual Analytics for Focus+Context Techniques

Research area and project description:
Progressive Visual Analytics (PVA) is currently revolutionizing big data analysis. Instead of crunching a whole dataset at once, PVA breaks a dataset down into smaller chunks and processes them in order of importance. This way, after each chunk, we can already output an in-progress result on which to base early analytical decisions long before the dataset is processed in its entirety. You probably know this concept from slowly transmitted images or maps online that are already shown while still being refined. PVA is like that, but for long-running data analysis and visualization operations.

This PhD project sets out to apply PVA to visual analysis techniques that follow the focus+context principle – i.e., by interacting with a visualization, users specify a point or region of interest (the focus) and its periphery of lesser interest (the context). Following the focus+context principle yields a natural, user-driven starting point for data partitioning and ordering strategies for PVA that is expected to outperform sampling-based methods, which partition the data without taking the user into account. It will be your task to explore this new combination of “Focused-PVA” to merge the swiftness and responsiveness of PVA with the interactive, user-driven nature of the focus+context principle.

Research questions to pursue in this project are:

  • What can we imply from the focus/context information in terms of suitable data partitioning schemes and processing strategies for PVA? How does the kind of visualization in which the focus is specified influence these strategies?
  • In which way can we leverage Focused-PVA to instantiate, for example, Progressive Lenses, Progressive Portals, or Progressive Probes on top of different visualizations?
  • How to generalize the above ideas from a binary distinction between focus and context regions to a continuous distance-based concept of importance? How to extend this concept to two or more focal regions?

Work on this PhD topic will be conducted in close collaboration with the DABAI project (https://dabai.dk), which provides the datasets and analysis scenarios on which the developed visualizations are tested. In addition, this research topic is embedded in a larger ongoing research effort to develop a visual analytics concept and system that will center on progressive visualizations using smart lenses or locally inserted “in situ visualizations”.

Qualifications and specific competences:
To apply for the position, you must have a relevant Master’s degree and excellent computer programming skills. Prior experience in at least one of the following areas is of advantage: data visualization, data science, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, or database technologies.

You are expected to bring or develop the necessary soft skills for working in teams, as well as for managing and communicating your research progress. The same holds for the necessary hard skills in software development and scientific writing.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Computer Science, Åbogade 34, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark.

Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Assoc. Prof. Hans-Jörg Schulz
Department of Computer Science
University of Aarhus
Åbogade 34
8200 Aarhus N
Denmark

Office: Hopper-117
E-mail: hjschulz@cs.au.dk 
Skype: hajoschulz


Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section” Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

 The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.


How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to http://talent.au.dk/phd/scienceandtechnology/opencalls/
Choose November 2018 Call with deadline 1 November 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Computer Science'.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Focused-PVA: Progressive Visual Analytics for Focus+Context Techniques"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). In the project description, you are asked to outline your own perspective on the project, its challenges, and the research directions you can see yourself taking to solving these challenges. If you wish to, your PDF can also indicate a URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.