InfoVis 2004 Contest
The History of InfoVis

Most recent news

      -     IEEE TVCG paper (2007) summarizes results and lessons learned from the 2003-2005 contests

-          October 10th 2004:  The contest session at the InfoVis Symposium is a great success with a packed room and crowd ovation.  See some of the slides (8Mg) presented.

-          October 6th: the Information Visualization Benchmark Repository was updated to reflect the results of the contest.  It includes the materials submitted by authors (direct link to materials). In the future, others will be able add their own contributions.

-          August 2nd: result list announced



How to refer to the contest or the dataset

Fekete, J.-D., Grinstein, G., Plaisant, C., IEEE InfoVis 2004 Contest, the history of InfoVis, (2004)


Overview of the event

The InfoVis Contest is a participation category of the InfoVis 2004 Symposium. It continues in the footsteps of the InfoVis 2003 Contest. The goal of the contest is to promote the development of benchmarks for information visualization and establish a forum to advance evaluation methods.

In 2004 the IEEE Information Visualization conference will be celebrating its tenth anniversary, a perfect time to select the history of the field as the theme. The contest encourages visualizations that support the discovery and identification of major research topics, relationships between members of the community, trends over time etc.

All categories of competitors (academic and commercial) may participate. We especially encourage student and class submissions.  We suggest that students planning to submit to the contest apply to be student volunteers immediately (the positions are filled quickly and you can always cancel if needed).  

Contest Chairs

     Jean-Daniel Fekete, INRIA, France
     Georges Grinstein, University of Massachusetts Lowell
     Catherine Plaisant, HCIL, University of Maryland

     Send email to us at:;;

Dataset and Tasks

Information about the dataset and tasks
      Register and download the dataset


We thank students from the University of Paris South (Caroline Appert) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell (Urska Cvek, Alexander Gee, Howie Goodell, Vivek Gupta, Christine Lawrence, Hongli Li, Mary Beth Smrtic, Min Yu and Jianping Zhou) for their help extracting the metadata of the references and putting it in a form we can use.  Finally we thank Shabnam Tafreshi for help with the website.

After the release of the datasets many others have offered their help: Jeff Klingner from Stanford,
Kevin Stamper, Tzu-Wei Hsu, Dave McColgin, Chris Plaue, Jason Day, Bob Amar, Justin Godfrey and Lee Inman Farabaugh (all from Georgia Tech), Niklas Elmqvist (from Chalmers, Sweden), Jung-Rung Han, Chia-Ning Chiang and Tamara Munzner (from UBC), and Maylis Delest (Universite de Bordeaux).

We also thank ACM and IEEE and in particular Mark Mandelbaum and Bernard Rous for working with us to prepare the dataset.

Schedule and deadlines

     Feb. 20th:        Release of dataset
      around May 5th:   Release of final version of dataset.
      June 21st:        Original deadline for submission
     JULY 1st:      Final deadline to submit materials
      August 2nd:     Acceptance notification   [[ results ]]
     August 23rd:    Camera ready materials due
      Oct.10-15th :   InfoVis and Vis conference in Austin, Texas

At the conference

First place entries will receive a prize and will present their work during the contest session at the conference. The length of the oral presentation is still to be determined but is likely to be similar to a short paper.

Second place entries will be presented as contest interactive posters at the conference. All accepted entries will be posted after the conference on the Information Visualization Benchmark Repository. 

We will award prizes for best entries in several categories. The judges will decide on the exact categories based on the material received - possibilities include "Best Overall", "Best Student Entry", and "Most Original".


The contest is open to all except those connected to the contest organizers and judges. If in doubt ask the contest chairs.

You may use any existing commercial product or research prototype, and of course you may combine tools.

At least one author of accepted submissions must attend the Symposium.

"Partial answers" are acceptable but we encourage you to attempt and address all tasks. In other words, if your tool or approach only addresses part of the dataset or a subset of the tasks, you may participate in the competition .

Submission Information 
     What to submit?

A 2-page PDF summary, a recorded demonstration and a completed standard form (using our template) with more information about the submission and the team.

The 2-page PDF summary should provide an overview of the submission and the analysis process, summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the approach, and provide at least one example screen shot. The 2-page summary should be formatted in two-column SIGGRAPH format as described the InfoVis 2004 Call for Participation . First and second place entries will have their 2-page summaries included as-is in the printed poster compendium.

You should use the template below to provide the answer to the tasks and report the insights gathered during your analysis. 
      Standard Form Template to use to report results (preview it, then download it with “save target as”) 
     (posted 5/21)
NOTE: if possible please use an editor that will not add additional tags to the form so it can be parsed automatically later on.  Emacs is great for that. When you are done, compress (zip or tar) the html file plus all the figures files into one file)

The recorded video demonstration should focus on the interactive features of the submission and the process of analyzing the data. Demonstrations should not exceed 10 minutes in length with 5 minutes the recommended length. We ask for a recorded demonstration because interactivity is an important component and is difficult to evaluate only through a paper submission.
If you anticipate having difficulties generating a digital video, please contact the contest chairs to arrange alternative submission methods. 

Suggestions: Even a short video without sound is 100% more effective than no video at all! One quick way to get a demo recorded on a PC is to use SnagIt from TechSmith (you can try their free demo first) and see a few examples here).  Please keep the file size reasonable (e.g. 5 to 10 Mg max!)  For Unix, others have recommended  and, but we have not tested them ourselves.
If you cannot generate an avi or other digital format file, create a VHS, CD or DVD and contact Georges Grinstein immediately. 

How to submit?

    All entry materials (two-page summary, standard form and video) have to be submitted on the web. 
    You will first be asked to register your entry and choose a password, which will allow you to upload your materials right away, or to come back later and upload revisions anytime until the July 1st deadline.


Submissions will be reviewed by external judges with information visualization expertise. Criteria will include: quality of the data analysis (what interesting insights you found in the data), appropriateness of the visual representation for the data and the tasks, usefulness and creativity of the interactivity, flexibility of the tool (how generic is your approach), quality of the written case study (description of the strengths AND weaknesses of the tool used), novelty (whether the approach was off-the-shelf or well-known versus a new approach.)

Partial answers can be submitted.  For example even if your tool can only deal with one of the tasks, we encourage you to submit.  Your submission can very well be the one doing the best job at that particular task and be recognized as such by the contest judges.   For example you can submit an entry only for task 1, or task 4.  Of course submissions that answer all tasks have a better chance at the overall 1st prize, but judges will have the possibility to create special prizes for shining partial entries.

Related websites

     InfoVis 2004 conference
     Infovis 2003 Contest
     Information Visualization Benchmark Repository

Contest Chairs

     Jean-Daniel Fekete, INRIA, France
     Georges Grinstein, University of Massachusetts Lowell
     Catherine Plaisant, HCIL, University of Maryland

     Send email to us at:; ;