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Immersive Analytics is an emerging field of research and development which seeks a deeper engagement with the analysis and data. It draws on the various meanings of the term immersive coupled with the different approaches to analytics, giving rise to slightly different interpretations. There are two primary facets related to the term immersive analytics. The first, and more literal aspect, is to be immersed or submerged in the data and analytic task. This gives rise to the examination of the range of human senses, modalities and technologies which might allow one to have their various senses fully immersed. A second facet, is the provision of computational analysis methods which facilitate a deep mental involvement with the task and data. Smooth interaction with the data and analytic task might allow people to concentrate and focus their attention, allowing them to enter a “flow state” which affords them the depth of thought required to be fully immersed.

The ultimate goal is to computationally support individual and collective human thinking it happens, in our minds. By focusing our attention and concentrating on a particular problem we can exhibit a deep mental involvement with the task and data. In this, computation should augment, not replace our thinking. When we examine the elements or structure of a problem, situation or object we want to be able to draw in new information which we don’t currently know. The new information or computational process should be available in such a fluid manner that we don’t need to expend additional mental effort to access it. When we turn our thinking to the analysis of the elements or structure of a problem, situation or object then our detailed thinking brings forth data, as required, to undertake this examination. We cannot easily reason about the fresh data due perhaps to its scale, then we can call on computation to support our thinking.


About the Speaker

Professor Aaron Quigley is the Chair of Human Computer Interaction in the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He is co-founder of SACHI, the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group. His research interests include discreet computing, global HCI, pervasive and ubiquitous computing and information visualisation on which he has delivered over 50 invited talks.

Aaron is the director of the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) which is a collaboration of 14 Scottish Universities. In addition, he is a general co-chair for the ACM CHI conference in Yokohama Japan in 2021 and is the outgoing ACM SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences.