Professor Min Chen

Professor of Scientific Visualization, University of Oxford

The Value of Interaction in Data Intelligence

In this “big data” era, it is common to expect data scientists to develop computing technologies that will transform data into insight. However, one often forgets that whenever a computing system asks for an input from its user, it is asking for a piece of insight from the human. The computer also knows the value of such insight. A yes-no answer is worth up to 1 bit. A selection out of 8 radio buttons is worth up to 3 bits. An interaction with a slider or a text field is usually worth more bits. At the end of a data intelligence process, whose insight does the process deliver? In this talk, the speaker will examine this question from both theoretical and practical perspectives. In particular, he will discuss the role of interaction in visual analytics, the potential of using information theory to underpin data science, and the need for more adventurous empirical studies to evaluate the value of human-computer interaction.



Min Chen developed his academic career in Wales between 1984 and 2011. He is currently the professor of scientific visualization at Oxford University and a fellow of Pembroke College. His research interests include visualization, computer graphics and human-computer interaction. He has co-authored some 200 publications, including his recent contributions in areas such as theory of visualization, video visualization, visual analytics, and perception and cognition in visualization. He has worked on a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary research topics, ranging from the sciences to sports, and from digital humanities to cybersecurity. His services to the research community include papers co-chair of IEEE Visualization 2007 and 2008, Eurographics 2011, IEEE VAST 2014 and 2015; co-chair of Volume Graphics 1999 and 2006, EuroVis 2014; associate editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics; and co-director of Wales Research Institute of Visual Computing. He is currently an editor-in-chief of Computer Graphics Forum. He is a fellow of British Computer Society, European Computer Graphics Association, and Learned Society of Wales. URL: