Presented By O’Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
21–22 May 2018: Training
22–24 May 2018: Tutorials & Conference
London, UK

Architectural design for interactive visualization

Bargava Subramanian (Binaize), Amit Kapoor (narrativeVIZ)
16:3517:15 Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Data science and machine learning, Visualization and user experience
Location: Capital Suite 14 Level: Beginner
Secondary topics:  Visualization, Design, and UX
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Data scientists, data analysts, data visualization analysts, business intelligence designers, and product managers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Experience building dashboards and visualizations or evaluating and consuming dashboards

What you'll learn

  • Understand good architecture design for making an interactive visualization application as data and application usage scales
  • Learn approaches to balance the different trade-offs inherent in your design and explore how others have addressed these trade-offs


Visualization is an integral part of the data science process and includes exploratory data analysis to understand the shape of the data, model visualization to unbox the model algorithm, and dashboard visualization to communicate the insight. This task of visualization is increasingly shifting from a static and narrative setup to an interactive and reactive setup, which presents a new set of challenges for those designing interactive visualization applications.

Creating visualizations for data science requires an interactive setup that works at scale. Bargava Subramanian and Amit Kapoor explore the key architectural design considerations for such a system and discuss the four key trade-offs in this design space: rendering for data scale, computation for interaction speed, adapting to data complexity, and being responsive to data velocity.

  • Rendering for data scale: Envisioning how the visualization can be displayed when data size is small is not hard. But how do you render interactive visualization when you have millions or billions of data points? Technologies and techniques include bin-summarise-smooth (e.g., Datashader and bigvis) and WebGL-based rendering (e.g.,
  • Computation for interaction speed: Making the visualization reactive requires the user to have the ability to interact, drill down, brush, and link multiple visual views to gain insight. But how do you reduce the latency of the query at the interaction layer so that the user can interact with the visualization? Technologies and techniques include aggregation and in-memory cubes (e.g., hashcubes, InMEMS, and nanocubes), approximate query processing and sampling (e.g., VerdictDB), and GPU-based databases (e.g., MapD).
  • Adapting to data complexity: Choosing a good visualization design for a singular dataset is possible after a few experiments and iterations, but how do you ensure that the visualization will adapt to the variety, volume, and edge cases in the real data? Technologies and techniques include responsive visualization to space and data, handling high cardinality (e.g., Facet Dive), and multidimensional reduction (e.g., Embedding Projector).
  • Being responsive to data velocity: Designing for periodic query-based visualization refreshes is one thing, but streaming data adds a whole new level of challenge to interactive visualization. So how do you work decide between the trade-offs of real-time and near real-time data and their impact on refreshing visualization? Technologies and techniques include optimizing for near real-time visual refreshes and handling event- and time-based streams.
Photo of Bargava Subramanian

Bargava Subramanian


Bargava Subramanian is a cofounder and deep learning engineer at Binaize in Bangalore, India. He has 15 years’ experience delivering business analytics and machine learning solutions to B2B companies. He mentors organizations in their data science journey. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. He’s an ardent NBA fan.

Photo of Amit Kapoor

Amit Kapoor


Amit Kapoor is a data storyteller at narrativeViz, where he uses storytelling and data visualization as tools for improving communication, persuasion, and leadership through workshops and trainings conducted for corporations, nonprofits, colleges, and individuals. Interested in learning and teaching the craft of telling visual stories with data, Amit also teaches storytelling with data for executive courses as a guest faculty member at IIM Bangalore and IIM Ahmedabad. Amit’s background is in strategy consulting, using data-driven stories to drive change across organizations and businesses. Previously, he gained more than 12 years of management consulting experience with A.T. Kearney in India, Booz & Company in Europe, and startups in Bangalore. Amit holds a BTech in mechanical engineering from IIT, Delhi, and a PGDM (MBA) from IIM, Ahmedabad.