Research

In recent years group members have been awarded millions of dollars in ARC Discovery and Linkage Grants and significant investment through industry sponsored research.

Click any individual project to learn more. View active, proposed and completed projects.

Visualisation of large, complex networks through small, beautiful diagrams

Networks are everywhere—Google's Knowledge Graph, Facebook's social networks and the Semantic Web. We will develop a new approach to visualise and understand these networks.

Funding: ARC Discovery Project — DP140100077

Flexible user-guided network layout for biomedical applications

This project will develop techniques for automatic layout of biological network diagrams, allowing users to guide the layout while satisfying any required placement constraints and drawing conventions. As part of the project, these methods will be integrated into several real-world systems biology applications for network browsing and authoring.

Funding: ARC Discovery Project — DP110101390

CIDER: A component-based toolkit for creating smart diagram environments

Smart Diagram Environments (SDEs) are software applications that use structured diagrams to provide a natural visual interface that behaves as if the computer "understands" the diagram. Unfortunately, despite their potential usefulness, SDEs are not easy to build. We present CIDER a Java toolkit for building SDEs which greatly simplifies this task. CIDER is a generic component-based system which is designed to be easily embedded in Java applications. It provides automatic interpretation of diagrams as they are constructed and manipulated, structure preserving manipulation, and a powerful transformation system for specifying diagram manipulations and user interaction. CIDER's main innovation is its component-based approach to SDE development which provides substantially increased architectural flexibility to the application programmer.

Natural diagram and table interfaces to graph and semi-structured databases

Modern small and medium businesses need simpler, more intuitive ways to store, query and analyse their data. This project will develop visual tools that provide a natural and intuitive interface for the innovative, flexible database being developed by the Australian software developer YesLogic.

Presenting graphics to blind students using a touchscreen interface extended with haptic and audio feedback

The project will develop a new approach to the presentation of graphics and other 2D information to blind students. It will be based on the Apple iPad extended with audio and haptic feedback. Currently, the standard approach to providing students with accessible graphics is to use tactile graphics which the student can feel. However production of such graphics is expensive and time consuming. Furthermore, it does not allow the student to interactively control the level of detail or to modify or annotate the graphic. Our new approach has the potential to overcome these limitations and to significantly improve the delivery of accessible graphics. The project includes extensive evaluation of the approach in the classroom.

Funding: ARC Linkage Project — LP110200469

Reimagining digital publishing for technical documents

Digital versions of technical documents are usually produced as static PDF files. Working with these on electronic devices has been shown to be frustrating and inefficient. This project reimagines digital publishing for technical documents and proposes reading via a new dynamic view with flexible navigation and on-demand contextual information.

Adaptive, responsive & intelligent documents

The internet is fundamentally changing the nature of text books, newspapers and magazines, transforming how we create and use such documents. These changes are set to accelerate with near universal access to high-speed broadband and an ever increasing range of mobile devices to access and create documents.

Comparative network visualisation

Statistical analysis of large-scale genome-wide biological datasets frequently results in predictions of large networks that are difficult to interpret or to effectively compare. We are investigating how plants respond to the environment, and the gene regulatory networks underlying these responses, with the aim of developing crops with increased tolerance to unfavourable environments. We have extensive time series gene expression profiles, gene regulatory network models and experimental validation data for multiple environmental stress conditions.

Comprehending and using information graphics, mathematical notations other representational forms

Humans use a broad range of representational forms including written language, pictures, notations, and diagrams. For decades, cognitive scientists and linguists have studied how humans communicate, reason and learn with them. Our research contributes to this body of knowledge by finding out more about the complex ways in which people, representations and contexts interact. We are interested in questions such as "What representations are most effective for a given task?" and "How can we help people choose good representations?" Our research has real-world relevance by informing the design of effective information displays and interactive systems.

Temporal Earth

This project is developing novel methods for spatio-temporal visualisation, applying them to representing the world's history across all timescales, with content currently focused on the Australasian region. Early prototypes were built in Adobe Flash, and the techniques thus demonstrated are now being generalised into a schema applicable to other development frameworks such as the Google Earth API, Open Layers and HTML5/Javascript.

Visualisation of dynamically changing command and control structures

Command and control structures within and across the emergency services follow principles documented in the Australian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS). AIIMS is a flexible system that describes management roles, reporting lines and responsibilities at each level of emergency response for both small and large-scale events. Given command and control structures are fluid and change depending on the situation at hand, understanding and recording the current nature of the hierarchies can be difficult. Often this knowledge and understanding is compromised, as there is not one formal representation of the hierarchy across the various emergency services. As there is no formal visualisation, there is also no record of how the hierarchy has evolved over the course of a significant emergency incident.

Visualising and predicting pathogen/host protein interactions

Pathogens suppress host immunity by targeting a range of secreted proteins, pathogenicity effectors, to the cytoplasm of host cells. These effectors, once they have traversed the host plasma-membrane, are targeted to many subcellular locations where they disrupt the host immune system to enable pathogen growth and reproduction. We have used the technique of matrix yeast two hybrid to identify the host targets of 200 pathogenicity effectors. This has revealed a complex and highly interconnected interaction network.

ContextuWall

ContextuWall is a new way of collaborative data exploration using massive screens, such as the CAVE2 at Monash. It combines interactive user interfaces to control and annotate content, and network connected big displays. These displays are each controlled by a separate display server that can be located at different locations, connected over the internet.

CELLmicrocosmos

The CELLmicrocosmos (Cm) project aims at the spatial analysis and visualisation of intracellular interactions. For this purpose, different software applications were developed. Biological pathways or other protein-/gene-related networks can be localized in the context of different three-dimensional cell models by using the Cm PathwayIntegration. For this purpose, content of different biomedical databases is queried. For the generation of molecular structures the Cm MembraneEditor is used, which is able to generate membrane and vesicular structures using PDB files. Originally developed at Bielefeld University, these tools will be extended and optimized in the context of the Immersive Analytics group by using advanced virtual reality techniques and bridging the gap between 2D and 3D representations. For this purpose, new stereoscopic technologies are explored and a comprehensive integration with network and data analysis tools, such as VANTED, is in development.

Collaborative and Immersive Visual Analytics

The increasing need to visualize and analyze big and complex data leads today’s research towards collaborative methods and technologies to enable a group of humans to work in a shared virtual or augmented space. With the Collaborative and Immersive Visual Analytics (ColimVis) project, we use the combination of recent virtual and augmented reality technologies (e.g. the Oculus Rift DK2 head mounted display and the Leapmotion sensor) in order to enable groups of users to explore complex data in a collaborative virtual system. Direct benefits of such a system include sharing different points of views of the visualisation, sharing interesting discoveries such as particular visual patterns, and much more.

GraVVITAS

The GraVVITAS (Graphics Viewer using Vibration Interactive Touch andSpeech) project is developing new computer technologies that are designed to work on an iPad and will (at last) provide people who are blind or have severe vision impairment with fast, inexpensive access to a wide variety of information graphics at home, at school and at work.

VANTED

VANTED stands for Visualization and Analysis of Networks containing Experimental Data. This system enables users to load and edit networks, which may represent biological pathways or functional hierarchies. A core feature is to map experimental datasets onto networks for visualisation of time series data, data of different genotypes or environmental conditions, as well as differential expression data, in the context of a the underlying biological processes. The program supports comprehensive tools for analysing network structures, network layout, as well as statistic functions, allow a fast evaluation of the data (e.g. t-Test or correlation analysis) and its underlying network.

Visualising Angkor

The Visualising Angkor project explores the 3D generation and animation of landscapes, people, soundscapes and architecture in a medieval century Cambodian metropolis. The resulting scenes draw upon a wide range of archaeological and historical data, from bas-reliefs to Chinese eye-witness accounts and extensive mapping undertaken by the Greater Angkor Project and the EFEO. In comparison to the familiar historical staples of Rome, Greece and Egypt, the virtual image of Angkor remains unexplored. The recent inclusion of Angkor as a subject of study in the Australian national High School history curriculum is timely, but it also presents some interesting challenges.