VAST Challenge 2016

VAST Challenge 2016 – Return to Kronos

2016 Workshop

The workshop for this challenge will be held October 23, 2016. For more information, see the Workshop Agenda.

About the VAST Challenge

The Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Challenge is an annual contest with the goal of advancing the field of visual analytics through competition. The VAST Challenge is designed to help researchers understand how their software would be used in a novel analytic task and determine if their data transformations, visualizations, and interactions would be beneficial for particular analytic tasks. VAST Challenge problems provide researchers with realistic tasks and data sets for evaluating their software, as well as an opportunity to advance the field by solving more complex problems.

Researchers and software providers have repeatedly used the data sets from throughout the life of the VAST Challenge as benchmarks to demonstrate and test the capabilities of their systems. The ground truth embedded in the data sets has helped researchers evaluate and strengthen the utility of their visualizations.


This year’s VAST Challenge returns to the island of Kronos for three mini-challenges to test the skills of designers and visual analytics groups alike.

These challenges are open to participation by individuals and teams in industry, government, and academia. We encourage your submissions and look forward to seeing your innovative approaches to solving these challenges using visual analytics.

The Challenges

Note: This scenario and all the people, places, groups, technologies, contained therein are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, places, groups, or technologies is purely coincidental.

Mini-Challenge 1

The Euybia Island Resort and Conference Center is a busy convention resort hotel and casino off the coast of Kronos. You are a designer specializing in visual analytics and human-computer interaction. Euybia Island has hired you to design an innovative interactive visual interface that enables their facility’s security investigators to conduct real-time analysis of streaming data. Successful designs will provide investigators with the ability to understand current situations as they evolve, look at past data that puts current data in context, and anticipate what might happen next. It will also allow investigators to reconsider recent data in light of new events.

Please visit VAST Challenge 2016: Mini-Challenge 1 for more information and to download the data.

Mini-Challenge 2 and 3

After the successful resolution of the 2014 kidnapping at GAStech’s Abila, Kronos office, GAStech officials determined that Abila offices needed a significant upgrade. In 2015, the growing company moved into a state-of-the-art three-story building near their previous location. The new office is built to the highest energy efficiency standards, and it is fully instrumented with sensors that identify everything from building temperatures to concentration levels of various chemicals.

GAStech has recently introduced new security processes. Staff members are now required to wear proximity (prox) cards while in the building, so that incidents like the 2014 kidnapping cannot occur again.

As an expert in visual analytics, you have been hired to help GAStech understand its steady stream of operations data. This includes data from stationary and mobile sensors of multiple types. The company needs your help in operational issues as well as security issues. Can you identify the issues to safeguard the company’s employees?

Mini-Challenge 2 asks you to analyze two weeks of building sensor data to identify patterns of concern. Please see VAST Challenge 2016: Mini-Challenge 2 for more information.

Mini-Challenge 3 poses a streaming analysis challenge. You will be given access to two days of streaming building sensor data. How can you identify important changes in the stream in real time? How can you quickly come up to speed on changes in the data since you last looked at it? What sensor would you add in order to better understand the suspicious events? Please visit VAST Challenge 2016: Mini-Challenge 3 for more information.

Which Challenges Are Right for You?

Mini-Challenge 1 is a design challenge. No software development is required. This challenge is ideal for graphic designers and human-computer interaction specialists.
Mini-Challenge 2 involves analysis of a collection of static data about two weeks of GAStech operations data, including building sensor readings and prox-card movement throughout the building. This challenge is ideal for visual analytics researchers and developers.
Mini-Challenge 3 involves analysis of a few days of streaming data from the GAStech building sensors and prox-card movement. Tools will be provided to make it easier for you to connect to and test the text stream. This challenge is ideal for visual analytics researchers and developers.

Important Information about the VAST Challenge

Participants are welcome to enter one, two, or all three of the Mini-Challenges. Entries may be submitted by teams or individuals. Anyone not associated with the VAST Challenge Committee may submit an entry.

Submission deadline is July 14, 2016 at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -9 hours).

Entries will be judged based on the criteria appropriate to the specific Mini-Challenge. Award winners will receive a recognition certificate. Award winning participants will be contacted by August 17, 2016.

All participants are also invited to submit a two-page summary of their entry for inclusion in the IEEE VIS 2016 electronic conference proceedings.

All participants are invited to attend the VAST Challenge 2016 Workshop, to be held in conjunction with IEEE VIS 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland USA. At this workshop, challenge organizers, participants, and conference attendees come together to discuss their work on this year's Challenge. Award certificates are presented during the workshop. The workshop includes presentations by selected participants, invited speakers, a poster session for the participants, and other activities.

Following the workshop, the submissions will be posted to the Visual Analytics Benchmark Repository. Submissions from previous years can also be found in this repository.

For questions, please email vast-challenge at ieeevis.org.

VAST Challenge Committee Chairs

  • Kris Cook, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Georges Grinstein, University of Massachusetts-Lowell
  • Mark Whiting, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Page last modified on Friday, September 23, 2016