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Reimagining space and time with Dr. Kate-Beard-Tisdale

By Christopher Burns


Dr. Kate Beard-Tisdale, professor of Computer & Information Science, has received much recognition from her peers and the university this year for research and career achievement. Among the honors she received include the Advance Rising Tide Career Recognition Award and the College of Liberal Arts & Science Faculty Award for Research and Creative Achievement.

These are just the latest of her many accolades. Last spring, Dr. Beard-Tisdale was recognized as an Emerging Media Fellow, a program begun by Mike Scott, professor of New Media and director of ASAP Media Service. What has earned her much recognition is her EventViewer.

For the last decade, Dr. Beard-Tisdale has been developing an application known as the EventViewer to help researchers and scholars better understand the dynamic relationship of space and time in studying event series.

The EventViewer project began for Dr. Beard with a question: “How is it possible to see space and time data together?”

Currently, the data used to test the EventViewer comes from a series of sensors installed in the Gulf of Maine by GoMOOS [Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System] collecting temperature, salinity and other data, Dr. Beard-Tisdale said.

“We have events, and we want to find patterns. The [EventViewer] allows us to look at patterns from the different sensors. Are there spatial trends or temporal patterns that repeat that can tell us what’s happening in the Gulf of Maine,” Dr. Beard-Tisdale said.

But Dr. Beard envisions an agile, lithe application capable of analyzing space and time patterns in fields as diverse as sociology, law, history, and etymology.

To date, no other project has aimed to render space and time data as Dr. Beard-Tisdale intends. Only Penn State’s GeoVisual Analytics and Torsten Hägerstrand’s Time-Space Cube rival her EventViewer.

Mike Scott along with a number of undergraduate and graduate students from New Media have teamed up with Dr. Beard-Tisdale in developing the EventViewer. ASAP Media Service has worked with Dr. Beard-Tisdale from the project’s early stages, Scott said.

A number of students have contributed to the research and development of the EventViewer, and Dr. Beard-Tisdale sees undergraduate involvement as “key” to the project.

“It’s a nice partnership,” Scott said. “It’s an opportunity for [students] to work on a project, build and try new things. It augments students’ academic work by giving them real world, hands-on experience.”

The students come from many departments, including Computer and Information Science, Electrical Computer Engineering and New Media. Student participation has been necessary in adapting the project to emerging technology and advancements in existing technology.

Advancements in web technology like HTML5 and JavaScript opened up possibilities of a more efficient, user-friendly interface.

The EventViewer project has allowed students to work on solving real world problems while contributing to Dr. Beard-Tisdales project. Creating a program that helps a user “discover the richness to a set of data provides challenges and it’s always surprising to find those problems. Solving those problems is rewarding,” Alex Gross, graduate student in New Media, said.

The EventViewer is currently in the third stage of development, and Dr. Beard-Tisdale hopes to launch it into the next stage this spring.

 
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Newsletter
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