2008 IEEE Visualization Design Contest

The 2008 IEEE Visualization Design Contest is designed to foster comparison of novel and established techniques, provide benchmarks for the community, and to create an exciting venue for discussion at the conference.

Theme and Data Sets

The theme for the IEEE Visualization 2008 Contest is Multifield 3D Scalar Data. The subject is an ionization front instability simulation data set submitted by Mike Norman and Daniel Whalen. They want to understand the formation of galaxies, in particular the effect of "shadow instabilities", where radiation ionization fronts scatter around primordial gas.

The image to the right, from [1], shows a shadow instability forming in one 2D slice through the data set over time. The scientists have not yet seen a 3D view of the fronts, much less the multivariate views needed to answer their questions. This is your chance to be part of new discoveries about the way the universe formed!

For more information on the data set and questions the scientists are asking, please consult the data description and tasks and judging pages.

Focus on Design

The goal of this year's contest is to design a visualization that is effective at answering domain-science questions on real data sets. The use of existing tools and research prototypes, and combinations of such tools are perfectly acceptable so long as they produce effective and useful visualizations.


It is intended that the primary motivation for submitting be the honor of winning the award itself. To maintain the high standard due such an honor, the number of prizes awarded will be determined based on the quality of submissions.

Each member of a winning team will receive an award certificate. The first-place prize, if awarded, will include a single complimentary full-conference registration for IEEE Visualization 2008. The winning team is responsible for determining which person will receive this registration.

Vis Contest Chairs

Russell Taylor (UNC) and Amit Chourasia (SDSC/UCSD)

Submission Information

The contest is open to everyone except the contest organizers and judges. Individuals and teams from academia, industry, or elsewhere are encouraged to submit. Students and student teams are highly encouraged to participate. Faculty are encouraged to consider using this as a design project in visualization courses.

Each submission should provide four copies of DVD or CD media containing:

  • A 2-page PDF document describing the solution (how the design addresses the scientific questions, which software systems and algorithms were used)
  • Up to five color images of up to 3200x2400 resolution showing the visualization answering the questions.
  • At most one Mpeg AVI or Quicktime video file of up to 1024x786 resolution and up to 15 minute duration showing the visualization in action. This does not have to be recorded in real time.
  • Optional (preferred): Source code for generating the pictures and video. This will not be sent to the reviewers, but will be archived with the contest so that researchers can use on this data in the future.

Submissions must be sent to the following address, first-class (domestic) or airmail (international), postmarked by August 1, 2008:

Amit Chourasia
IEEE Visualization Design Contest
9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0444
University of California San Diego
La Jolla, CA - 92093

For more information, please check out the mail list archive and if you don't find the answer there send email to the moderated mailing list. Those planning to submit are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the mailing list so that you will receive important updates as they are sent.


Each team can decide whether to submit anonymously or not. The names of anonymously-submitting teams will not be released to the judges (whether they can deduce this based on the submitted material is another matter). The names of the non-winning anonymous teams will not be released to the public, and the judges will be instructed not to release this information. The names of the winning teams and all non-anonymous submissions will be released to the public when the winners are announced; this is being done to provide the largest possible set of example visualizations for this data set. Even non-winning entries for this set of tasks may be optimal for some other set of tasks, and they are likely to have individual high points.


All teams will be notified about their status and prizes before the close of early registration for IEEE Visualization 2008.