I was discussing the importance of data visualization with a co-worker a couple of weeks ago. We agreed that some sort of dynamic, intuitive interfaces for looking at and interacting with huge data sets in general, and sequencing-based data sets in particular, would be extremely useful. As the Dataspora blog puts it in a recent post, “The ultimate end-point for most data analysis is a human decision-maker, whose highest bandwidth channel is his or her eyeballs.” (the post is worth reading in its entirety)
Apparently Illumina (one the biggest vendors of high-throughput sequencers) agree; they’ve announced a competition where the aim is to provide useful visualizations of a number of genomic datasets derived from a breast cancer cell line. The competition closes at March 15, 2011.
Here’s a nice paper, A Tour through the Visualization Zoo, which provides a whirlwind tour of different kinds of graphs. The figures are actually interactive, so you can mess around with them if you are reading the article online.