A Discovery Jam is an intensive event in which scientists, designers, visualization researchers and students come together to propose creative solutions to real-world problems in scientific discovery. (here’s the plan for the next workshop)

Why is this important?

Scientific Discovery is Changing. It is clear that modern scientific discovery requires a new data-intensive approach. The vast stores of data available – from experiments, observations and simulations – have the potential to enable countless valuable new discoveries, yet scientists continue to struggle to make sense of their data. We believe interactive visualization holds an answer to this problem, but we also believe that something new, perhaps even disruptive, needs to happen in order to realize this potential. We need to change the culture. Scientific discovery in this new data-centric world must be collaborative, interdisciplinary, and creative. Understanding must flow both ways – vis experts and students need to understand the science and the science problems, and scientists need to become versed in the vast array of techniques and algorithms available to them.

Borrowing from the successes we see in the computer games community, where technologists, visual artists, content creators and many others have learned to work as a team, we propose the concept of a Discovery Jam as an exciting, vibrant, inspirational mechanism for bringing new interdisciplinary teams together to address specific challenge problems while, at the same time, demonstrating through example a culture of collaboration and training a new cohort of scientists, students, technologists, and artists to work together toward discovery across disciplines.

We expect participating scientists to leave with innovative proposals for addressing their specific problems. We expect other participants to leave with an understanding of specific science problems, ideas for innovative approaches to discovery, and specific opportunities for future collaboration.

The visualization community is already creating tools and workflows that promote interactive investigation and exploration of data, making it possible for the user to control complex processes, but not get bogged down in the details. Computing can make it possible for an artists’ eye to be leveraged by a scientist, a physicist’s expertise to control fire, and a cinematographer’s craft to enhance a scientists experience in exploring data. These tools demonstrate the power of the transformed idea of interactive visualization and analysis, and provide a model for collaboration, technical development and design in the years ahead.

Through this workshop, and with the introduction of the Discovery Jam concept, we provide an opportunity for this dynamic process to be used to promote scientific discovery, propose creative ideas for scientific data analysis, and create a community of researchers interested in the area.