New animation lets you fly through a supernova remnant

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This stunning visualisation of Cassiopeia A, the result of an explosion approximately 330 years ago, uses X-ray data from Chandra, infrared data from Spitzer and pre-existing optical data from NOAO’s 4-m telescope at Kitt Peak and the Michigan-Dartmouth-MIT 2.4-m telescope. The neutron star left over from the stellar blast is an artist’s illustration (Courtesy NASA/CXC/D Berry; Model: NASA/CXC/MIT/T Delaney et al.)

Duration : 0:0:53

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STOC (Stock Ticker Orbital Comparison) data visualization

STOC (Stock Ticker Orbital Comparison) is an interactive data visualization, using the metaphor of a planetary system, which maps parameters of stocks in the S&P500 to animated visual outputs. World Premiere at the SIGGRAPH 2009 Information Aesthetics Showcase in New Orleans, LA.
Credit to Adam Fielding’s “Traveling Light” for the demo video music, licensed CC-NC-BY.


University of Advancing Technology
James Grant
Todd Spencer

1. Introduction
Existing methods for displaying large amounts of stock market data do not easily allow comparison between companies, as the data is often presented in tabular format. Some solutions implement a price-over-time graph, with the option of layering on additional stocks or market indices for comparison. STOC, however, seeks to allow immediate comparison of hundreds or thousands of stocks, by mapping various stock-specific parameters to easily observable visual outputs. This visualization is particularly suited for comparisons between items, as one is able to immediately identify the largest, or reddest, or quickest item in the group.

2. Data Mapping
The program uses mapping functions to adjust the raw data within ranges usable for visualization purposes. The data is mapped between inputs and outputs as follows:
– volume of trading = planet orbital distance
– comparison to S&P 500 = planet speed
– percent change from prior close = planet color
– market capitalization = planet size
– P/E ratio = planet atmosphere width and color
– moving average = planet opacity
– dividend yield = planet moon size

The program also produces an average of all these numbers to define the general performance of the S&P 500. This is represented by a large center circle, or sun. After discussing how to best display the data, we determined that the color of the sun would be an average of the change percentage, and the volume is a scaled visualization of the total volume of trading on the S&P. This was done to allow the viewer to tell at a quick glance some basic information about the markets performance, and how much trading has occurred. The sun remains stationary, and there is no averaging of the dividend yields.

3. Interaction
The entire system can be manipulated in several ways. The user is able to zoom in and out of a section to see more detail, or expand and contract each of the relative orbital radii, maintaining their relationship but allowing the user to give more or less separation to them in order to better compare stocks. It also gives the user the ability to right click on a stock to display the name of the stock, and press the space bar to get a print out of all the raw data that has been collected. The speed of the system can also be scaled via keyboard, and by pressing the space bar the system can be paused at any time. An individual stock can be selected and highlighted by typing the company name.

4. Goals and future developments
Ideally, this application is something that could be set up in an area and let run to allow a person to simply glance at it to gauge the markets condition. In this way a person could always have an eye on the stock market without having to stare at line and bar graphs.
For future development, we plan on expanding the usability of the application with several additions:
– iPhone and Android apps
– Web-viewable visualization and interaction
– Scan through daily archived closing data points
– Additional data sets visualized with same orbital metaphor

Duration : 0:1:25

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