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425 people downloaded the data set as of June 10th.

Check the BLOG for questions/answers!

STUDENT TRAVEL SUPPORT.  This year again we will be able to provide some support for student travel, thanks to NSF.  In July we will ask advisors to submit requests for support for their students.  Priority will be given to teams who receive awards.  Travel support will not cover the entirety of the cost of travel, so please discuss support issues early with your advisors.  Students are encouraged to apply as student volunteers as soon as possible on the IEEE VisWeek site.  
VAST CHALLENGE PARTICIPANT WORKSHOP: the workshop will take place on SUNDAY Oct 24th, just before the conference.  This workshop is open to everyone who submits to the Challenge (and only them, so submit an entry!

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Overview of the event

The VAST Challenge is a participation category of the IEEE VAST 2010 Symposium (part of VisWeek 2010). The VAST 2010 Challenge continues in the footsteps of the VAST 2009 ChallengeVAST 2008 Challenge and the 2007 and 2006 contests with the purpose of pushing the forefront of visual analytics tools using benchmark data sets and establishing a forum to advance visual analytics evaluation methods. We also hope it will speed the transfer of VA technology from research labs to commercial products, and increase the availability of evaluation techniques.

In order to provide more opportunities for increased participation we will again offer an overall Grand Challenge as well as three smaller Mini Challenges. 

MINI CHALLENGE 1 : Text Records - Investigations into Arms Dealing
MINI CHALLENGE 2 : Hospitalization Records -  Characterization of Pandemic Spread
MINI CHALLENGE 3: Genetic Sequences – Tracing the Mutations of a Disease
GRAND CHALLENGE: Combines all data sets.  Investigating any possible linkage between the illegal arms dealing and the pandemic outbreak.

Teams may enter one or more mini Challenges independently of the entering the Grand Challenge. ALL teams submitting an entry to a VAST Challenge will be invited to discuss their work during a challenge workshop.

Entries will be judged on both the correctness of the analysis (based on the availability of ground truth) and the utility of the tools in conducting the analysis. Participants have several months to prepare their submissions.

Questions?  Send email to challengecommittee AT


The challenge is open to EVERYBODY.  If in doubt, ask the chairs.
Student teams must have a faculty sponsor and provide the faculty’s contact information with their registration.
Teams may use any existing commercial product or research prototype and, of course, may combine tools. We strongly encourage teams to find partners with complementary expertise (e.g. groups with text analysis or reasoning tools might want to seek partners with user interface expertise). We can assist you if you are looking for partners, please ask!
At least one participant of the teams receiving recognition should attend the Symposium, so please discuss travel support issues early with your advisor or supervisor.  If you are a student register as a student volunteer as early as possible.

2010 Timeline

Early March Sample data available
End of March Full datasets available
June 29th Submissions deadline
August 10th Results returned to participants
August 25th Deadline for award winners to submit 2-page summary for inclusion in the proceedings
October 24th-29th VAST Conference


VAST Challenge chairs

Georges Grinstein, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Catherine Plaisant, HCIL, University of Maryland
Jean Scholtz, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 
Mark Whiting, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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