Thursday, June 12, 2008
I love working at IBM Research because there are cool things happening all over the place -- reminds me of being at a university lab in many ways. It's really fun, energizing, and, yes, even interns get paid to do it. One of those cool things, although officially a personal project supported by IBM, is Jonathan Feinberg's "Wordle", a beautiful, highly packed, word cloud, launched online today. Think tag clouds but more artistic.
In many ways, this Wordle is very similar to a visualization I have proposed, called an "author fingerprint visualization", in that it has a unique looking structure for each individual dataset and uses free text as input. From talking to Jonathan, however, it seems that his layout is random, and I would want something deterministic and stable, so that the same text would create the same or very similar images each time, like a real fingerprint! Also, Wordle uses simple word counts to determine sizes, whereas we have envisioned a series of measures based more on information content.
But, it's more beautiful than anything I could make, and the website, launched today, is just buzzing with activity. Check it out!
Posted by Christopher Collins at 7:34 PM