Application Spotlights

Application Spotlights at IEEE VIS

There is a clear need to promote application-focused work in the VIS community. This is both due to the recognized need to engage real-world decision makers and to the growing awareness of the value of application work for generating basic research questions. Since 2019, we created a new format to help address this need: Application Spotlights. It is one of several components - including the VAST Challenge, the SciVis Contest, and the VisInPractice program - which aim at bridging the gap between fundamental research and practical applications.

This year we also welcome demo spotlights as a way for visualization researchers to share and discuss challenges related to developing visualization software for application domains or open source.

What is an Application Spotlight?

An Application Spotlight is a fast-paced, session-sized event that revolves around a central, practically relevant topic. It is meant to be lean, in the sense that both the application and the organization of a spotlight are lightweight to entice participation from both within and outside of the traditional VIS community. The goal of a Spotlight session is to create a self-contained introduction to an application topic that is relevant to VIS. This includes

  • an introduction into the problem domain at hand - ideally delivered by a domain scientist or practitioner from said domain and accessible for a VIS-focussed audience;
  • a well-honed description of the added value that advanced VIS solutions bring to the target domain;
  • an overview of the current state of the art of VIS work applied in the target field;
  • a clear statement of open VIS challenges that is suitable to seed R&D efforts concerning Spotlight’s application area.

With this in mind, a typical layout will include a primer talk that addresses the first two bullets by introducing the basics of the application domain and its specific requirements. This is followed by several coordinated presentations on the topic of interest, which show what has been achieved so far. The final aspect may be interspersed throughout the program, e.g. each presenter could highlight where they see yet uncharted territory. Alternatively, the organizers could deliver these points by a short panel discussion or a summarizing statement. We advise organizers to reserve ample room for open discussion with the audience to fulfill the “bridging the gap” mission of the Spotlight format.

What is an Application Demo Spotlight?

Demo spotlights share a common organizational structure as the standard application spotlight. They are meant to be a fast past and interactive session showcasing visualization research software and discussing the challenges, solutions, frameworks, or methodologies that supported their development. Those interested in organizing a demo spotlight should recruit multiple presenters. Discussing the rationale for presenter recruiting (e.g., they’ve all developed and deployed vis software to healthcare centers) improves the strength of the spotlight submission.

Demo spotlights are new this year, and because of this, we are adopting a flexible approach to their structure. However, those interested in organizing a demo spotlight should be advised that we cannot yet fully guarantee the availability of equipment supporting the demos (but we’ll try our best).

Submission Preparation and Review Process

The submission system is now open. To simplify the submission process, we are using a Google form this year: Application Spotlight Organizers will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Title: Describe the subject of your spotlight session as accurately and specifically as possible in no more than ten words.
  • Organizer Details and Contact Information Including names and e-mail addresses of those involved.
  • Whether the submission is a demo spotlight Yes or No
  • Summary: Describe your spotlight in no more than 500 words. There is no template or required format. Feel free to add images to your document, however, the PDF cannot be larger than 10 MB. The summary should be written to attract those who work in your specific topic area as well as those who work in related fields.

We suggest that all submissions 1) describe the problem area to be addressed, 2) explain the fundamental research questions or challenges that are likely to be triggered by the spotlight, and 3) any methodological advances that are helpful to a potential application domain or (for demo spotlights) the development of visualization software.

For Application Focused Spotlights:

Please also include information on the application domain, its link to VIS at large, your intended format, and (if possible/applicable) prospective speakers.

For Demo Focused Spotlights:
Please also include information on a possible list of software tools (and authors) that may be part of your spotlight.

The Application Spotlights co-chairs will review and evaluate all submissions. As an organizer, you are in charge of selecting the governing topic, recruiting speakers, and coordinating the event as you see fit.

Upon acceptance, we will ask organizers to submit their final spotlight information advertising the event through PCS. This information will be published on During the time leading up to the conference, there will be regular check-ins by the spotlight co-chairs to provide support to the organizers while they are setting up their spotlights.

Feel free to contact us at if you have any questions concerning the submission, format, and content of your application spotlight.


Date Activity
June 6th, 2024 Submission deadline
June 27th, 2024 Notifications
July 18th, 2024 Camera-ready deadline

All deadlines are at 11:59pm (23:59) AoE **Anywhere on Earth (AoE)


Anamaria Crisan, Tableau Research, USA