Alexander Lex

My research is at the interface of humans and data. Data and analytical methods have become ubiquitous, yet human reasoning and contextual knowledge are critical to discovery and decision making. My team and I develop innovative, interactive, visual data analysis methods that leverage both, the power of computation and the unique abilities of humans to interpret large and complex datasets.

My work is often inspired by domain problems: I collaborate with scientists in biomedicine to develop novel methods and tools to tackle their complex data analysis problems. This approach grounds my work in real needs and lets me conduct detailed task and requirement analysis.

I am an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute and the School of Computing at the University of Utah. Together with Miriah Meyer, I run the Visualization Design Lab where we develop visualization methods and systems to help solve today’s scientific problems.

Before that I was a lecturer and post-doctoral visualization researcher in Hanspeter Pfister’s group at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I received my PhD, Master’s and undergraduate degrees from the Institute for Computer Graphics and Vision at the Graz University of Technology where I was advised by Prof. Dieter Schmalstieg. In 2011 I was a visiting researcher at Prof. Peter Park’s Computational Genomics Research Group at Harvard Medical School.

I am on the organizing committee for IEEE VIS, a papers chair for BioVis and a general co-chair for the Visualization in Data Science Symposium. I am or was on the program committee for VAST, InfoVis, PacificVis and EuroVis Short Papers. I review for a wide range of publications including IEEE TVCG, CG&A, ACM CHI, Oxford Bioinformatics, and BMC Bioinformatics.

I am a co-founder and co-PI of the Caleydo Project, a visualization framework for biomolecular data, and a co-founder and advisor to Datavisyn, a startup developing visual analytics solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.


Publications Talks Teaching Press

Alexander Lex
Alexander Lex, PhD, MSc
Assistant Professor

Contact
alex@sci.utah.edu
SCI Institute,
School of Computing,
University of Utah
72 South Central Campus Drive,
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

Room: WEB 3887

Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar
Twitter
GitHub

Publications

Preprints

Peer-reviewed Journal and Conference Publications

Coresets screenshot

Yan Zheng, Yi Ou, Alexander Lex, Jeff M. Phillips
Visualization of Big Spatial Data using Coresets for Kernel Density Estimates
IEEE Symposium on Visualization in Data Science (VDS '17), to appear, 2017

daf-worksheets screenshot

Sean McKenna, Alexander Lex, Miriah Meyer
Worksheets for Guiding Novices through the Visualization Design Process
IEEE Workshop on Pedagogy of Data Visualization (PDV '17), to appear, 2017

Graffinity screenshot

Ethan Kerzner, Alexander Lex, Crystal Lynn Sigulinsky, Timothy Urness, Bryan William Jones, Robert E. Marc, Miriah Meyer
Graffinity: Visualizing Connectivity In Large Graphs
Computer Graphics Forum (EuroVis '17), 2017

Display-Space screenshot

Thomas Geymayer, Manuela Waldner, Alexander Lex, Dieter Schmalstieg
How Sensemaking Tools Influence Display Space Usage
EuroVis Workshop on Visual Analytics (EuroVA '17), 2017

Pathfinder screenshot

Christian Partl, Samuel Gratzl, Marc Streit, Anne Mai Wassermann, Hanspeter Pfister, Dieter Schmalstieg, Alexander Lex
Pathfinder: Visual Analysis of Paths in Graphs
Computer Graphics Forum (EuroVis '16), 2016
 EuroVis 2016 Honorable Mention Award

Vials screenshot

Hendrik Strobelt, Bilal Alsallakh, Joseph Botors, Brant Peterson, Mark Borowsky, Hanspeter Pfister, Alexander Lex
Vials: Visualizing Alternative Splicing of Genes
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis ’15), 2016

oceanpaths screenshot

Carolina Nobre, Alexander Lex
OceanPaths: Visualizing Multivariate Oceanography Data
Proceedings of the Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis ’15) - Short Papers, 2015

UpSet screenshot

Alexander Lex, Nils Gehlenborg, Hendrik Strobelt, Romain Vuillemot, Hanspeter Pfister
UpSet: Visualization of Intersecting Sets
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis '14), 2014

Domino screenshot

Samuel Gratzl, Nils Gehlenborg, Alexander Lex, Hanspeter Pfister, Marc Streit
Domino: Extracting, Comparing, and Manipulating Subsets across Multiple Tabular Datasets
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis '14), 2014
 IEEE InfoVis 2014 Honorable Mention Award

Hidden-Content screenshot

Thomas Geymayer, Markus Steinberger, Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, Dieter Schmalstieg
Show me the Invisible: Visualizing Hidden Content
Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’14), 2014
 ACM CHI 2014 Honorable Mention Award

Mu-8 screenshot

Johnathan D Mercer, Balaji Pandian, Alexander Lex, Nicolas Bonnel, Hanspeter Pfister
Mu-8: Visualizing Differences between Proteins and their Families
BMC Proceedings, 2014

LineUp screenshot

Samuel Gratzl, Alexander Lex, Nils Gehlenborg, Hanspeter Pfister, Marc Streit
LineUp: Visual Analysis of Multi-Attribute Rankings
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis '13), 2013
 IEEE InfoVis 2013 Best Paper Award

Entourage screenshot

Alexander Lex, Christian Partl, Denis Kalkofen, Marc Streit, Anne Mai Wassermann, Samuel Gratzl, Dieter Schmalstieg, Hanspeter Pfister
Entourage: Visualizing Relationships between Biological Pathways using Contextual Subsets
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis '13), 2013

enRoute screenshot

Clemens Holzhüter, Alexander Lex, Dieter Schmalstieg, Hans-Jörg Schulz, Heidrun Schumann, Marc Streit
Visualizing Uncertainty in Biological Expression Data
Proceedings of the SPIE Conference on Visualization and Data Analysis (VDA '12), 2012

LineUp screenshot

Marc Streit, Hans-Jörg Schulz, Alexander Lex, Dieter Schmalstieg, Heidrun Schumann
Model-Driven Design for the Visual Analysis of Heterogeneous Data
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2012

StratomeX screenshot

Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, Hans-Jörg Schulz, Christian Partl, Dieter Schmalstieg, Peter Park, Nils Gehlenborg
StratomeX: Visual Analysis of Large-Scale Heterogeneous Genomics Data for Cancer Subtype Characterization
Computer Graphics Forum (EuroVis '12), 2012
 EuroVis 2012 3rd Best Paper Award

enRoute screenshot

Christian Partl, Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, kalkofen, Karl Kashofer, Dieter Schmalstieg
enRoute: Dynamic Path Extraction from Biological Pathway Maps for In-Depth Experimental Data Analysis
Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Biological Data Visualization (BioVis ’12), 2012
 IEEE BioVis 2012 Best Paper Award

VisBricks screenshot

Thomas Geymayer, Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, Dieter Schmalstieg
Visualizing the Effects of Logically Combined Filters
Proceedings of the Conference on Information Visualisation (IV ’2011), 2011

VisBricks screenshot

Alexander Lex, Hans-Jörg Schulz, Marc Streit, Christian Partl, Dieter Schmalstieg
VisBricks: Multiform Visualization of Large, Inhomogeneous Data
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis '11), 2011

Linking screenshot

Markus Steinberger, Manuela Waldner, Marc Streit, Alexander Lex, Dieter Schmalstieg
Context-Preserving Visual Links
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis'11), 2011
 IEEE InfoVis 2011 Best Paper Award

Matchmaker screenshot

Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, Christian Partl, Karl Kashofer, Dieter Schmalstieg
Comparative Analysis of Multidimensional, Quantitative Data
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis '10), 2010

Linking screenshot

Manuela Waldner, Werner Puff, Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, Dieter Schmalstieg
Visual Links across Applications
Proceedings of the Graphics Interface (GI '10), 2010
 GI 2010 Best Student Paper Award

 screenshot

Heimo Müller, Robert Reihs, Stefan Sauer, Kurt Zatloukal, Marc Streit, Alexander Lex, Bernhard Schlegl, Dieter Schmalstieg
Connecting Genes with Diseases
Proceedings of the Conference on Information Visualisation (IV ’09), 2009

 screenshot

Manuela Waldner, Alexander Lex, Marc Streit, Dieter Schmalstieg
Design Considerations for Collaborative Information Workspaces in Multi-Display Environments
Proceedings of Workshop on Collaborative Visualization on Interactive Surfaces (CoVIS'09, VisWeek), 2009

 screenshot

Marc Streit, Alexander Lex, Heimo Müller, Dieter Schmalstieg
Gaze-Based Focus Adaption in an Information Visualization System
Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Graphics and Visualization and Image Processing (CGVCVIP '09), 2009

Commentary

Thesis

Thesis-Lex screenshot

Alexander Lex
Visualization of Multidimensional Data with Applications in Molecular Biology
Graz University of Technology, PhD Thesis, March 2012
 Best Dissertation Award, awarded by "Forum Technology and Society", Graz University of Technology

Talks

Invited Talks

Visualizing Biological Data: Pathway Graphs, Genealogies, and Alternative Splicing Keynote | PDF
Merck Research Laboratories, Boston, MA, 2017-06-15.
Department Of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 2017-06-14.

Enabling Scientific Discovery through Interactive Visual Data Analysis Keynote | PDF
Goldman Sachs Tech Expo, Salt Lake City, UT, 2017-06-28.
Department Of Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2017-04-06.
Walmart, Tech Tuesday, Bentonville, AK, 2017-02-07.
Marth Lab, Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2016-08-25.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, 2016-07-01.
Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, 2016-03-30.
Camp Lab, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2015-11-23.

Enabling Scientific Discovery through Interactive Visual Data Analysis PPT | PDF
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, 2015-08-07.
Adobe Research, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2015-04-06.
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2015-03-26.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA, 2014-12-03.
University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland, 2014-11-03.

UpSet: Visualization of Intersecting Sets PPT | PDF
Data Ventures, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2015-04-23.
BioIT World Conference & Expo, Boston, MA, USA, 2015-04-22.
Tufts University, Sommerville, MA, USA, 2014-10-29.

Visual Data Analysis for Biology and Pharmacology PPT | PDF
PerkinElmer, Boston, MA, USA, 2014-11-05.
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2014-07-09.

Visualizing Relationships between Biological Pathways PPT | PDF
Drug Discovery on Target Conference, Boston, MA, USA, 2014-10-08.
BioIT World Conference & Expo, Boston, MA, USA, 2014-05-01.
DBMI, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, 2014-04-17.

Visualization Approaches for Biomolecular Data PPT | PDF
Georgia Tech, School of Interactive Computing, Atlanta, GA, USA, 2014-04-08.
University of Calgary, Department of Computer Science, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2014-02-13.
MIT CSAIL, Cambridge, MA, USA. 2013-04-12.
UMass Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA, 2013-11-06.

Visualizing Multi-Attribute Rankings & A Very Short Visualization Introduction PPT | PDF
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Strategic Data Project, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2014-03-07.

Data Visualization in Molecular Biology PPT | PDF
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2013-07-29.

enRoute: Dynamic Path Extraction from Biological Pathway Maps for Exploring Heterogeneous Experimental Datasets PPT | PDF
BioIT World Conference & Expo, Boston, MA, USA, 2013-04-10.
Visualizing Biological Data (VIZBI) 2013, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2013-03-20.
Symposium on Understanding Cancer Genomics through Information Visualization at Tokyo University, Tokyo, Japan, 2013-02-22.

Visualizing Biomolecular Data with the Caleydo Framework PDF
CBMI, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, 2011-08-12.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), Cambridge, UK, 2010-09-21.
European BioInformatics Institute (EBI), Cambridge, UK, 2010-09-20.

Caleydo: Visual Analysis of Biomolecular Data
VCBM 2010 Leipzig, Germany, 2010-07-02.

Caleydo and Visual Links
VRVis Research Company, Vienna, Austria. 2010-03-11.

Caleydo: Visualization of Gene Expression Data in the Context of Biological Processes
AUVA Research Center for Traumatology, Vienna, Austria, 2009-02-26.

Novel InfoVis Techniques Applied to Pathways and Gene Expression Data
Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics, Graz University of Technology, Austria, 2008-07-10.

Paper Presentations

Pathfinder: Visualizing Paths in Graphs Keynote | PDF
BioVis @ ISMB, Orlando, FL, USA, 2016-07-08.

UpSet: Visualization of Intersecting Sets PPT | PDF
IEEE InfoVis, Paris, France, 2014-11-03.

StratomeX: Visual Analysis of Large-Scale Heterogeneous Genomics Data for Cancer Subtype Characterization PDF
IEEE BioVis 2012, Seattle, Washington, USA, 2012-10-14.
EuroVis 2012, Vienna, Austria, 2012-06-07.

VisBricks: Multiform Visualization of Large, Inhomogeneous Data PDF
IEEE InfoVis 2011, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, 2011-10-26.

Visualizing the Effects of Logically Combined Filters PDF
Information Visualization 2011, London, UK. 2011-07-14.

Comparative Analysis of Multidimensional, Quantitative Data PDF
IEEE InfoVis 2010, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Paper presentation, 2010-10-28.

Caleydo: Design and Evaluation of a Visual Analysis Framework for Gene Expression Data in its Biological Context
PacificVis 2010, Taipei, Taiwan. 2010-03-03.

Tutorials

StratomeX & enRoute: Integrative Visualization with Caleydo
Nils Gehlenborg and Alexander Lex
Visualizing Biological Data (VIZBI) 2013, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2013-03-20.

Cancer Data Analysis with Caleydo StratomeX and enRoute PPT | PDF
Alexander Lex and Marc Streit
Symposium on Understanding Cancer Genomics through Information Visualization Tokyo University, Tokyo, Japan, 2013-02-22.

Connecting the Dots – Showing Relationships in Data and Beyond PPT | PDF
Marc Streit, Hans-Jörg Schulz, and Alexander Lex
Handout & References
VisWeek’12, Seattle, WA, USA, 2012-10.

Teaching

Current PhD Students

Carolina Nobre | Multivariate Graphs, Genealogies, Social Networks
T Cameron Waller | Visualization of Biological Networks, Metabolism
Jen Rogers | Interactive visualization for biological and medical data.
Christian Partl (co-advised with Dieter Schmalstieg)

Current MS Students

Pranav Dommata

Former Students

Sahar Mehrpour, PhD rotation '17
Mengjiao Han, PhD rotation '17
Asmaa Aljuhani, PhD rotation '17
Annie Cherkaev, PhD rotation '17
Sunny Hardasani, MS '16
Anirudh Narasimhamurthy, M.S. '16
Michael Kern, M.S. '16
Murali Krishna Teja Kilari, M.S. '17
Sateesh Tata, MS '16
Roy Bastien, BS '16
Priyanka Parekh, BS '16
Shreya Singh, MS '15
Varsha Alangar, MS '15
Rasvan Iliescu, MS '14
Alain Ibrahim, MS '14
Tamar Rucham, MS '14
Gabriel Hase, MS '14
Conor Myhrvold, MS '14
Ran Sofia Hou, BS '13 (co-advised with Joe Blitzstein)

Courses

Visualization for Data Science | CS 5630 / CS 6630
Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
http://dataviscourse.net

Introduction to Data Science | CS 5963 / MATH 3900
Fall 2016
http://datasciencecourse.net
Co-Instructor: Braxton Osting

Visualization Seminar | CS 7942
Spring 2017, Fall 2016

Visualization | CS 171 (Harvard)
Spring 2015
http://www.cs171.org/2015/

BioVis | (JKU Linz)
Spring 2013

Selected Topics Computer Graphics | (TU Graz)
Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012

Press

Inside Science, 2017
How Math Can Help Geologists Discover New Minerals

The OpenHelix Blog, 2016
Video Tip of the Week: Pathfinder, for exploring paths through data sets

The OpenHelix Blog, 2014
Video Tip of the Week: UpSet about genomics Venn Diagrams?

The Harvard Crimson, 2014
Painting by the Numbers: Data Visualization

The Harvard Crimson, 2014
New Tool Makes Cancer Analysis More Accessible

Harvard Medical School News, 2014
Pattern Recognition: New visualization software uncovers cancer subtypes

GenomeWeb, 2014
Harvard TCGA Data Visualization Software Adds Tools to Better Characterize Disease Subtypes

The OpenHelix Blog, 2014
StratomeX for genomic stratification of diseases

Harvard SEAS News & Harvard Gazette, 2014
What's behind a #1 ranking?

Forbes, 2014
Harvard And DARPA Develop Software For Deconstructing Top 100 Rankings

Der Standard, 2014
Heimische Forscher machen die Dynamik hinter Rankings sichtbar

The OpenHelix Blog, 2014
Video Tip of the Week: Entourage and enRoute from the Caleydo team

Nature Methods, 2013
Data visualization: ambiguity as a fellow traveler

GEN - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, 2013
Pathway Analysis to Decipher Data

Harvard SEAS News, 2013
Celebrating minds dedicated to discovery

The OpenHelix Blog, 2010
Tip of the Week: Caleydo for gene expression and pathway visualization