Welcome to the VUE Hackathon

May 1st, 2020 - RCC Visualization Lab, John Crerar Library, 9 am - 5 pm

The Visualization for Understanding and Exploration (VUE) research project, supported by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and the Office of Research and National Laboratories, seeks to understand the transformative character of data visualization for research and communication within humanistic disciplines.

One of the goals of the VUE project is to expand the visualization community in the humanities and social sciences. The Research Computing Center (RCC) at the University of Chicago hosts multiple hackathons to foster the understanding and exploration of data visualization for research within humanistic disciplines during the academic years between 2018 and 2020. The purpose of the hackathon is to bring together people interested in visualization in the humanities and social sciences to build a community of researchers.  We want to help researchers identify and solve data visualization problems. We welcome members of the University of Chicago research community of all levels to register to participate in this Hackathon.

The theme of the first year of the VUE project was data visualization of texts and spatial data. The theme for the second year is geographic information science. Each hackathon is a daylong and hands-on event proceeded by a data consultation session to discuss possible project and data for the hackathon. Attendees will choose a time slot in April where the teams will meet to discuss their projects with an RCC expert. We expect participants to work towards completing visualizations during this hackathon. Participants will work in teams or individually and are encouraged to bring their own projects they are working on or can join an existing team.

Research topics for the projects supported by VUE in each year are: 



  • Burning the Future: Carbon Capture and Storage and Energy Engineering in Eastern Australia
  • Business of Debt

Some of the technical questions we will be addressing include:

  • What is the best way to present your data?
  • What visualization tools are best suited the kind of data you have?


Our first Hackathon was held on March 2nd 2019 with 28 participants, and we worked on: 

  • Comparison of media coverage between US and China on social inequality led by Prof. Xi Song previously in the Department of Sociology. 

  • 1919 Chicago Riot - Geocoding of incident locations and georeferencing of the old map eventually used for https://1919map.rcc.uchicago.edu led by Prof. John Clegg from the Department of History. This project was one of the VUE supported project of Prof. Clegg. 

  • Visual comparison of scientific texts by Goethe and Candolle led by Agatha Kim from the Department of History. This project was one of the VUE supported project of Agatha. 

  • Quantitative analysis of political speech by populist leaders around the world to explore the rhetoric commonalities and differences among those leaders led by Prof. Stokes from the Department of Political Science. 

  • Relative impacts of malaria in different nations across sub-Saharan Africa.

The pictures from the event are here

Projects that will be supported in this hackathon will be invited to submit posters to the RCC’s Mind Bytes event in 2020 and be eligible to win prizes and also VUE exhibit in the spring quarter. 

Click the button below to register to take part in the hackathon. The application deadline for proposals is April 3rd, 2020.

Application Deadline: April 3rd, 2020

Application Announcement: April 10th
Participants informed they have been selected

Project Consultation Session: April 13th 
Held at Zar Room, Crerar Library, to assist participants with preparation

VUE Hackathon: May 1st
Zar Room, Crerar Library

Below is the agenda for the March 6th Hackathon.

 Time  Plan
 9 am - 9:30 am  Welcome and breakfast
 9:30 am - 10:30 am  Project introductions and team formation
 10:30 am - 12:30 pm  Hack
 12:30 pm - 1 pm  Lunch
 1 pm - 4 pm  Hack
 4 pm - 5 pm  Present on topics


Still have questions?

If you need any help, we are here to support you.

Call the RCC Help Desk

(773) 795-2667

Email the RCC for Info