The ability to collect and store data continues to increase, but our ability to understand it remains unchanged. In an attempt to gain better understanding of data, fields such as information visualization, data mining and graphic design are employed, each solving an isolated part of the specific problem, but failing in a broader sense: there are still too many unsolved data visualization problems. As a solution, I seek to bring the individual fields together as part of a single process. I’ll be showing examples of work developed as part of my Ph.D. dissertation at the MIT Media Laboratory, as a postdoc studing genetics at the Eli & Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, and more recently running a company that consults on design and software development. The work ranges from illustrations of data for magazines and journals to software tools used by geneticists to interactive database applications for Fortune 10 companies.
Ben Fry runs a software and design consultancy in Cambridge, Massachusetts that focuses on understanding complex data. Fry received his doctorate from the Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, where his research focused on combining fields such as computer science, statistics, graphic design, and data visualization as a means for understanding information. With Casey Reas of UCLA, he develops Processing, an open source programming environment used by tens of thousands of students, artists, engineers, and scientists. At the end of 2007, he published “Visualizing Data” with O’Reilly. Fry’s personal work has shown at the Whitney Biennial, the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His information graphics have also illustrated articles for the journal Nature, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Seed, and Communications of the ACM.