Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

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Proud Sponsors…

I’m very happy to announce that with the new change of management at the day job, i2 will be sponsoring VisWeek this year!

As ever, the conference programme looks exciting. It will be a great chance to meet customers and also to see what the academic community has been doing in 2009. Can’t wait…

Visualizations of Habit and Routine

Lately I’ve become interested in the design of visualizations that draw out patterns in habit & routine. To explain what I mean, here are a bunch of nice examples…

Let’s start with a visualization of a twitter user’s posting habits from

This simple diagram of a baby’s sleep times comes from Trixie Tracker:
Simple but effective! Thanks to Nathan’s flowingdata for these two examples. (See also a wonderful visualization of the stabilization of a baby’s sleep patterns in Winfree “The Timing of Biological Clocks” Page 31, also shown in Card et al “Information Visualization…” Page 5/6).

It seems that some form of heatmap is the most common means of representing habitual behaviours – see e.g., Andrienko et al for a visualization of traffic densities around Milan (red is lots of traffic):
This picture of hotel visitation patterns (Weaver et al) shows the number of visitors over a weekly timescale:
I like the summary at the bottom and right of the main area showing aggregated trends.

Nathan Eagle & Alex Pentland’s paper on “Eigenbehaviours” differentiates various routine patterns from a dataset & presents them clearly:
This reminds me of Wijk & Selow’s classic paper too.

Does anyone have any suggestions on other visualizations of habits and routines?

Friday Catch Up

These flight paths are just stunning.

A hyperbolic graph of data sources from Lexis Nexis – good for graphs with tree structure.

I found this article from Cooper design a good read – particularly the ‘revision death spiral’…

And finally – Is this formula for real?

CIA fact book

A relationship browser for the CIA factbook – again done in flash. Only amusing for about two minutes, though the radial layout and animation is well thought out.


Zoomify could be fun to play with, or this tool from Derek is even slicker…


Interesting, in an ‘art of the possible’ way, is the WebOS idea, covered elsewhere but reviewed well here. Playing with YouOS has certainly been fun. I guess Microsoft’s best answer for revenues may not be Live, but Remote Desktop, which is just great to use. Google obviously may find it more attractive, though arguably their recent strategy of consolidation of services (docs, spreadsheets, gmail, all in one place), plus an open API for gadgets for Google Desktop and one’s home page, might mean the OS metaphor just becomes irrelevant, given the prediction that the boundaries of what a developer can do in that environment will keep receding….

We Feel Fine

More exploration of blog content in real time: We Feel Fine.

Travel-time maps

Compelling travel time maps (with peculiar focus on Cambridge!)

About Me

For the last nine years I’ve worked for i2. During that time I’ve seen the company grow from around 30 people to about 200 or so. Initially I worked as software developer and architect on their flagship product – the i2 Analyst’s Notebook. Now I’m an architect/technology specialist across the all the company’s products, but I also have a research and development role.

In my previous life I was a researcher in cosmology, collaborating with John Stewart and Dave Salopek in the General Relativity group in the Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. My main paper wasSolving the Hamilton-Jacobi equation for general relativity“. I collaborated on a fair number of other papers too (1, 2, 3).

I then re-trained in computing, doing a masters at Imperial College. There I worked with Abbas Edalat on fractals: “An Algorithm to Estimate the Hausdorff Dimension of Self-Affine Sets“.

My first proper job was at Metron Technology, where I collaborated with Professor Peter Harrison at Imperial on performance models for ethernet networks. We wrote a couple of papers together: “Response Times in Client-Server Systems“, The Ethernet and its Modelling“, and one I did myself: “Two Models of Ethernet Networks“.

Click here for my full CV.

Joe Parry