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Test of Time Awards

The IEEE VIS Test of Time Award is an accolade given to recognize articles published at previous conferences whose contents are still vibrant and useful today and have had a major impact and influence within and beyond the visualization community.

Papers are selected for each of the three conferences (VAST, InfoVis and SciVis) by Test of Time Awards panels appointed by the conference Steering Committees.

The decisions are based on objective measures such as the numbers of citations, and more subjective ones such as the quality and longevity and influence of ideas, outreach, uptake and effect not only in the research community, but also within application domains and visualization practice.

We hope to encourage researchers to aim to produce work that is forward looking and has transformational potential. We’re building on our heritage to establish an ambitious future by making it clear at the outset of the conference that we want participants to aspire to be writing papers today that will be relevant in decades to come.

VAST 2007: 10 Year Test of Time Award

Jigsaw: Supporting Investigative Analysis through Interactive Visualization
Authors: John Stasko, Carsten Görg, Zhicheng Liu, Kanyupriya Singhal
https://doi.org/10.1109/VAST.2007.4389006

Jigsaw is a visual analytics system, developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, for enabling analysts and researchers to explore, analyze, and make sense of document collections. This 2007 VAST paper, co-authored by John Stasko, Carsten Görg, Zhicheng Liu, and Kanupriya Singhal, brought Jigsaw to light for the first time. Since then, the software has been used extensively by investigators, analysts, and researchers in many fields, including visualization, text analysis, journalism, law enforcement, finance, and so on According to Google Scholar, the paper has received over 400 citations. While a number of papers published in IEEE VAST 2007 have made significant impact because of their novel scientific contributions, this VAST paper on Jigsaw stands the test of the time with the highest impact.

InfoVis 1997: 20 Year Test of Time Award

The Structure of the Information Visualization Design Space
Authors: Stuart K. Card, Jock D. Mackinlay
https://doi.org/10.1109/INFVIS.1997.636792

A unanimous choice amongst panel members and an enjoyable read, from which each of us learned things we had not thought of recently. Card and Mackinlay introduce a model of the visualization design space that is revealing and helps with description and explanation. It’s relevant today and useful to apply this to some of the visualization that has developed in the last couple of decades. Really, the paper is well worth reading again - please have a look. The work has had a big influence on future papers - and is in effect an early characterization of the kind of work that many of us have attempted since. Other papers that describe processes and areas of influence followed the lead of this seminal piece of work that mapped the design space explicitly, described and differentiated idioms and dealt with geographic coordinates specifically. Card and Mackinlay really helped the community understand what visualization was all about and their paper and approach have had lasting effect. As we said, the notation can be usefully applied to current visualization techniques to describe them, compare them and give us traction as we begin to explain why particular locations in the visualization design space may be appropriate in certain contexts.

InfoVis 2007: 10 Year Test of Time Award

ManyEyes: a Site for Visualization at Internet Scale
Authors: Fernanda B. Viegas, Martin Wattenberg, Frank van Ham, Jesse Kriss, Matt McKeon
https://doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2007.70577

The ManyEyes project, which this paper describes, has been impactful in many ways. The most straight forward are its citations, 671 in total, 48 at VIS. The ToT 2007 committee was unanimous in its decision. We think that beyond the citations this paper has had a huge impact, on the research community, on the information visualization industry, and on the general public. ManyEyes was on the vanguard of the research community starting to think more broadly about what kind of people might make use of an information visualization. Rather than domain experts, ManyEyes was designed for the general public. People could use the ManyEyes website, upload their own data, choose one of several templates, and create a visualization of their own. This led the research community to think about personal visualizations for individuals’ own data, spurred emphasis on collaborative visualization, and about the importance of visualization on the web. It has had impact industry in that now both Tableau (via Tableau Public) and Microsoft (Via Power BI) have their own data tools for public use. However, we think that the impact on the general population might be most important. This paper had led the ideas about rise of social computing and the importance of data and visualization to people in general – or more specifically, introduced ideas about the democratization of data and visualization.

SciVis 1992: 25 Year Test of Time Award

Visualization of second order tensor fields and matrix data
Authors: Thierry Delmarcelle, Lambertus Hesselink
https://doi.org/10.1109/VISUAL.1992.235193

Visualization of second order tensor fields has a wide range of applications in various scientific disciplines. It is a difficult problem however because multiple scalar values are involved at each data point which define unsymmetric real and complex functions. In this paper, the authors presented the first method that are not relying on discrete iconic techniques, but instead decomposing the tensor field into simultaneous visualization of a real and symmetric second order tensor field and a real vector field. The authors introduced the concept of hyperstreamline which is still frequently referenced to date. The SciVis Test of Time award committee selected this paper as the 1990-1992 SciVis Test of Time award winner based on its originality, the importance, and the long term impact to the application areas.

SciVis 2002: 15 Year Test of Time Award

Efficient computation of the topology of level sets
Authors: Valerio Pascucci, Kree Cole-McLaughlin
https://doi.org/10.1109/VISUAL.2002.1183774

Using topological approaches to analyze level sets from scalar field has been an important branch of methods in the SciVis community. While the theories of contour trees had been known prior to this paper, efficient and robust computation of contour trees and other topological features from a discrete data set has been a challenge. In this paper, the authors provided a detailed account of the implementation of contour tree computation. The improved efficiency and the enhanced feature namely the Betti number makes the topological approach more practical and accessible to the scientific community. Considering the citation counts, the importance of the work, and the potential impact to the application areas, the SciVis Test of Time award committee selected this paper as the 2002 SciVis Test of Time award winner.