Hey wassup guys, I’m Eugene and I’ll be updating the blog this week! I feel like I need to provide a mid term report on the theme project we are in, which has always been one of the highlights of the ZJU exchange program.

This week marks our first official meet-up to begin the project. Over the past 4 – 5 weeks,  we were given materials that gave us a broad overview of data visualization. The materials came from two sources: an open source website FreeCodeCamp and our mentor’s winter term course on Data Visualisation. Personally I felt that this was exciting, because even though SUTD has provided a grounded freshmore curriculum that focused on foundations, this theme project would be the first to bring in a data-related course and in a sense, the real start to our professional career in the field of data analytics.

We started off our first assignment with the Data Journalism Awards and the analysis of the top submissions in the various categories, which gave us a very comprehensive introduction into data visualisation and allowed us to craft our very first interpretation of what data visualisation was.

Due to the change this year to an open sourced project, we got the liberty to choose the topic area to visualize. But frankly speaking, it became a tyranny of choice as there was just so many areas that we could visualize data in, ranging from social interactions, politics, finance, science, history and more.

On Monday, we were asked to present on feasible ideas we had to think through over the previous week, which included ideas like the change and distribution over the past 100 years, visualization of grocery trends and more. There were many topic areas brought up that were either relevant to one’s daily lives or were novel and could bring up conversation among the masses. Moving on, our TA released a new mission for us – to narrow down our topic areas and start thinking and incorporating the visualization components and User Interface. Now this was interesting, because all of us did not have data visualisation background prior to this programme, and even given the materials we were advised to read up, we have minimal experience in producing such visualisation. Hence, it was like the sky is the limit for us in trying to come up with such an interface (at least until we start doing the interface TT)

Oh did I mention that in order to give more time for correction, we had to produce the initial concept of the visualisation the next day?

So on Tuesday, all of us had a quick (not really) brainstorming session on our narrowed down ideas, which included more refined ideas to spark a discussion, such as the grading distribution during large scale examinations, power distribution of the major countries over the past 100 years, and even creation of a new social interactions app that is similar to Tin***. However, we did not delve too deep into the User Interface components, which was our next task we had to do over next week. These included the considerations of the type of visualisation to be used such as geographical, spartial, temporal visualisations, the general layout of the interface and the flow of visualisations and how it can maximise insights derived.

Moving on, we are looking at fixing our ideas and getting our hands onto the project proper, to create a functional working prototype based on scalability, functionality and aesthetics. Next week would also be our assignment week where we receive our first coding assignment, a lead in to the technical aspect of our project.

And that’s all for the mid-term report, and hope that this would give more insights to those that may be interested in developing in the data analytics area.



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