The amount and complexity of information produced in science, engineering, business, and everyday human activity is increasing at staggering rates. The goal of this course is to expose you to visual representation methods and techniques that increase the understanding of complex data. Good visualizations not only present a visual interpretation of data, but do so by improving comprehension, communication, and decision making.

In this course you will learn how the human visual system processes and perceives images, good design practices for visualization, methods for visualization of data from a variety of fields, and programming of interactive web-based visualizations using D3.

Attention: CS 171 has moved to the fall semester, and from now on will be taught in the fall semester only!

Limited enrollment: To provide the best possible learning experience this course is limited to 70 students. If you are interested in joining this course please fill out a enrollment survey. The enrollment survey will be available after the first lecture (August 31st, 2:30pm) until Monday Sept 4th, midnight. The survey is available on our Canvas page.

Cross-registering students: To get access to the course’s Canvas page you will have to 1) get an XID here; 2) send an e-mail to with the subject ‘Canvas ID’; 3) the e-mail needs to contain your Name, e-mail and XID.

Extension school and online students: Unfortunately, CS171 is currently not offered at the extension school anymore.


Johanna Beyer - Senior Researcher, Visual Computing Lab

Course Sessions

Lectures & Labs: Tuesday and Thursday 2:30-4 pm, Location: Pierce 301

Studios: Studio times and locations will be posted here. Please sign up on Canvas by 6pm Friday, September 8, 2017..

Office Hours: Office hours are posted here.

Lecture Resources: Discussion forum on Piazza

Materials and grades on Canvas


Teaching Fellows

  • Ronell Sicat (Head TF) - Postdoctoral Fellow, Visual Computing Group
  • Michael Behrisch - Postdoctoral Fellow, Visual Computing Group
  • Zona Kostic - Visiting Researcher, Visual Computing Group
  • Fritz Lekschas - PhD Candidate, Visual Computing Group
  • Charlene Hwang
  • Nathan Lee


  • Alain Ibrahim - Digital Product Development Manager
  • Alexandra Abrahams
  • Javier Cuan-Martinez
  • Katherine Harrison

Previous Years

2016 Fall Website

2016 Spring Website

2015 Website 2015 Video Archive

2014 Website 2014 Video Archive

2013 Video Archive

2012 Video Archive