Efficient Creation and Analysis of Visualizations for Data Communication

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Department of Computer Science and Engineering

PhD Thesis Defence

Title: "Efficient Creation and Analysis of Visualizations for Data 


Mr. Aoyu WU


The influential rise of the Internet and social media has accompanied 
ever-increasing public needs for accessing information and data. In light 
of this trend, data visualizations have emerged as one of the primary 
mediums for public data communication. Thus, a large number of 
visualizations have been produced and shared on the web, raising new 
challenges and problems in both society and academia. In this thesis, I 
investigate this phenomenon and accompanying problems through a careful 
combination of research methods including literature survey, empirical 
studies, and machine learning. Specifically, this thesis focuses on:

(1) Building novel recommenders for authoring high-quality visualizations. 
Many web visualizations are made by non-experts and suffer from quality 
problems such as poor readability and insight. I present three automated 
approaches to assist the general public in creating visualizations, 
including MobileVisFixer for generating mobile-friendly designs, LQ2 for 
authoring aesthetic layouts, and MultiVision for designing analytical 

(2) Formalizing visualizations as a new first-class object for efficient 
analysis. Through xviii a comprehensive literature survey into ten 
research fields in computer science, I argue that visualizations are 
becoming a new data object like images and text. I further formulate the 
emerging research field as visualization processing and analysis that 
concerns processing digitized visualizations and extracting meaningful 
information. My work Computable- Viz presents a formalism for operating on 
multiple visualizations, thereby creating novel applications such as 
interactively combining visualizations in AR environments.

By integrating those two perspectives, this dissertation contributes to a 
new online knowledge ecosystem – both analyzing web visualizations to 
distill knowledge and assisting the public in producing new visualizations 
to communicate data. I hope that this ecosystem will continue stimulating 
new theories, problems, techniques, and applications to further bridge the 
public with data.

Date:			Friday, 5 August 2022

Time:			2:00pm - 4:00pm

Zoom Meeting:

Chairperson:		Prof. Han LI (SOSC)

Committee Members:	Prof. Huamin QU (Supervisor)
 			Prof. Minhao CHENG
 			Prof. Xiaofang ZHOU
 			Prof. Jiheng ZHANG (IEDA)
 			Prof. Guoliang LI (Tsinghua University)

**** ALL are Welcome ****