Content aggregation, visualization and emergent properties in computer simulations

In Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro & Thomas Larsson (eds.), SIGRAD 2010 – Content aggregation and visualization. Linköping University Electronic Press. pp. 77-83 (2010)
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With the rapidly growing amounts of information, visualization is becoming increasingly important, as it allows users to easily explore and understand large amounts of information. However the field of information visualiza- tion currently lacks sufficient theoretical foundations. This article addresses foundational questions connecting information visualization with computing and philosophy studies. The idea of multiscale information granula- tion is described based on two fundamental concepts: information (structure) and computation (process). A new information processing paradigm of Granular Computing enables stepwise increase of granulation/aggregation of information on different levels of resolution, which makes possible dynamical viewing of data. Information produced by Google Earth is an illustration of visualization based on clustering (granulation) of information on a succession of layers. Depending on level, specific emergent properties become visible as a result of different ways of aggregation of data/information. As information visualization ultimately aims at amplifying cognition, we discuss the process of simulation and emulation in relation to cognition, and in particular visual cognition.
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