Christopher Collins

Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization

Tier 2 - 2010-03-01
Renewed: 2019-01-01
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Research involves

Designing new ways of looking at, working with and understanding language data, through interactive graphical displays.

Research relevance

This research will produce new, interactive tools and techniques for mining the wealth of text, speech and other language data produced daily.

Supporting serendipity, exploration and analysis

The average office worker spends about 2.6 hours a day reading and sending email. Factor in traditional news feeds and the demands of social media and it’s easy to see why so many of us experience “information overload.”

Yet, within this daily flow of information are millions of pieces of economically and culturally significant, text-based data. The challenge lies in finding innovative ways to sort, analyze and gain insight about them.

As Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization, Dr. Christopher Collins is addressing this challenge.

Imagine a doctor using a gesture-based application to sort through large volumes of medical text with a simple swipe of a hand; or a marketing professional using a digital whiteboard to determine how customers really feel by sorting through and exploring tweets based on emotion. Collins’ research is aimed at making such scenarios a reality.

Collins and his team are designing new visualization techniques for working with language data, whether on traditional computers or through natural user-interface technologies, such as large touch walls, smart phones and gesture-based applications. By combining interactive information graphics with automated language analysis tools—classifying documents by topic, for example, or detecting emotion in text—Collins’ research will open huge possibilities for data management.

Collins and his team are already forging important connections with business and academic communities to put their results into action. The ability to manage text-based data by getting at people’s deeper insights will not only offer major competitive advantages, but will help users find the golden needle hidden inside virtual haystacks of information.