VisOnFire. Understanding and visualizing workflows

Visual Analysis of Large and Heterogeneous Scientific Workflows for Analytical Provenance. - A new visual forensic tool realizes the visualisation of data analysis workflows and helps to increase the reproduciblity of studies.
Project manager
External project manager
Overall project manager: Associate Professor DI Dr. Marc Streit, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Institute of Computer Graphics
  • Harvard University, School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Visual Computing Group (Pfister Lab)
  • Harvard Medical School, Center for Biomedical Informatics, Computational Genomics Group (Park Lab)
  • University of Rostock, Institute of Computer Science, Visual Computing and Computer Graphics
Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
12/31/2015 – 12/31/2019

The complex analysis of big amounts of data

Over the last few years, many fields of science have been confronted with tremendous amounts of data that are growing rapidly. Large-scale experiments are carried out as scientific workflows on powerful server infrastructures, combining data-transformation and analytic operations. Often groups of researchers from different organizations collaborate on administrating and constantly revising and changing those workflows. Therefore, it is more difficult to comprehend what kind of changes and variations have taken place and how they might have influenced the results. Reproducibility of results is an essential aspect in this context since sustainable scientific progress is only possible if researchers can trust previously published results, which they then can use a fundament for advancing their field. However, to increase the trustworthiness and scientific value of such studies in the future, developing novel approaches that implement traceability and reproducibility is of utmost importance.

How to understand and visualize scientific workflows
The key to traceability and reproducibility lies in the collection of information about the processed data, the applied analysis steps, and their parameters over time. We refer to this bundle of information as provenance graph. Right now, it is extremely difficult to find out which changes occurring at the level of the input data, the workflow itself and its parametrization in the context of large-scale projects actually caused variations in the output using existing provenance approaches. The primary aim of the project is to develop an innovative visual forensic solution for scientific workflow provenance graphs, combining the following features:

  1. scalable workflow visualization methods
  2. change metrics for heterogeneous data
  3. advanced visual comparison techniques.

Traceability and reproducibility

The primary goal of the proposed research project is to implement provenance at all levels, allowing analysts to gain a deeper understanding of the workflow, changes applied to the workflow, and how they influence the results. Therefore, this project will have a positive impact on a variety of fields and disciplines.


Project Website


Dahnert, M., Rind, A., Aigner, W., & Kehrer, J. (2019). Looking beyond the horizon: Evaluation of four compact visualization techniques for time series in a spatial context. ArXiv:1906.07377 [Cs].
Streit, M., Aigner, W., & Girardi, D. (2018, March). Injecting Life into Visualizations for Biomedical Research. Presented at the DBMI Open Insights Seminar, Harvard University.
Niederer, C., Stitz, H., Hourieh, R., Grassinger, F.-G., Aigner, W., & Streit, M. (2018). TACO: Visualizing Changes in Tables Over Time. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis "17), 24(1), 677–686.
Rind, A., Haberson, A., Blumenstein, K., Niederer, C., Wagner, M., & Aigner, W. (2017). PubViz: Lightweight Visual Presentation of Publication Data. In B. Kozlíková, T. Schreck, & T. Wischgoll (Eds.), Proc. Eurographics Conf. Visualization (EuroVis) – Short Paper (pp. 169–173). EuroGraphics.
Aigner, W. (2017, April). Mit Visual Analytics zu Data-Driven Banking. Keynote presented at the Bankensymposium Wachau, Göttweig (Austria).
Tominski, C., Aigner, W., Miksch, S., & Schumann, H. (2017). Images of Time: Visual Representation of Time-Oriented Data. In A. Black, P. Luna, O. Lund, & S. Walker (Eds.), Information Design: Research and Practice (pp. 23–42). Gower/Routledge.
Kromer, L., Wagner, M., Blumenstein, K., Rind, A., & Aigner, W. (2016). Performance Comparison between Unity and D3.js for Cross-Platform Visualization on Mobile Devices. In Proceedings of the 9th Forum Media Technology 2016 (pp. 47–52). CEUR-WS.
Aigner, W. (2016, October). Visual Analytics of Time-Oriented Data and its Complex Structures. Invited talk, Rutgers University, USA.
Aigner, W. (2016, May). Research Highlights at the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies. Inivited talk presented at the Chair of Computer Graphics, University of Rostock, Germany.
Wagner, M., Blumenstein, K., Rind, A., Seidl, M., Schmiedl, G., Lammarsch, T., & Aigner, W. (2016). Native Cross-platform Visualization: A Proof of Concept Based on the Unity3D Game Engine. In Proceedings of International Conference on Information Visualisation (IV16) (p. forthcoming). Lisbon, Portugal: IEEE Computer Society Press.
Ceneda, D., Aigner, W., Bögl, M., Gschwandtner, T., & Miksch, S. (2016). Guiding the Visualization of Time-Oriented Data. In Poster Abstracts of IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST 2016). Baltimore, MD, USA: IEEE.
Blumenstein, K., Niederer, C., Wagner, M., Schmiedl, G., Rind, A., & Aigner, W. (2016). Evaluating Information Visualization on Mobile Devices: Gaps and Challenges in the Empirical Evaluation Design Space. In Proceedings of 2016 Workshop on Beyond Time And Errors: Novel Evaluation Methods For Visualization (pp. 125–132). Baltimore, MD, USA: ACM.
Rosenthal, P., Aigner, W., & Scheidegger, C. (Eds.). (2015). EuroRV3 2015 - EuroVis Workshop on Reproducibility, Verification, and Validation in Visualization. Goslar, Germany: Eurographics Association.
Stitz, H., Gratzl, S., Aigner, W., & Streit, M. (2015). ThermalPlot: Visualizing Multi-Attribute Time-Series Data Using a Thermal Metaphor. In Poster Abstracts of IEEE Conference on Information Visualization (InfoVis "15). Chicago, IL, USA: IEEE.
Stitz, H., Gratzl, S., Aigner, W., & Streit, M. (2015). ThermalPlot: Visualizing Multi-Attribute Time-Series Data Using a Thermal Metaphor. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 22, 2594–2607.

Press coverage

Dem Workflow auf der Spur

Medium:  Austria Innovativ

Vorbereiten auf die digitale Welt

Medium: Der Standard

Wissenschaft und Forschung in Niederösterreich

Medium: UNIVERSUM Magazin

Big Data – und welche Chancen Daten bieten

Medium: Die Presse