Bryn Mawr College
CS 120: Visualizing Information
Spring 2008
Course Materials
Dr. Emily Greenfest-Allen


Texts  Important Dates  Assignments  Lectures  Grading Links

General Information

Instructor: Emily Allen, PK 246l, x6503
E-Mail: egallen at brynmawr dot edu

Lecture Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays , 2:30 p.m. to 4:00.m.
Room: PK 259

Lab Hours: Monday and Wednesday 1-3 pm in Room 231 (additional lab hours will also available, see below)


Lab Assistants: The following Lab assitants will be available during the week (names and schedules will be posted by the end of this week) for assistance on lab assignments.

  1. Samrina Sattar Tuesdays, Wednesdays 8 - 10 pm E-mail: ssattar at bmc
  2. Check the CS110 webpage for more times when a TA is available

These are the hours when the Lab will not be available:

Syllabus: PDF version of the basic course information contained on this website.

Texts & Software


Tufte, Edward R.  2001.  The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.  Graphics Press, LLC: Chesire, Connecticut.

Python Software + IDLE. This software is already installed in the Computer Science Lab.

Pylab Interface and the Matplotlib library. This software is already installed in the Computer Science Lab.

Installation Instructions for the PC (Required Files in Links section)

Installation Instructions for the MAC
(NOTE: if IDLE keeps crashing or freezing after producing figures, you may need to replace the installed file with the one provided in the links section)


Tufte, Edward R. 2006. Beautiful Evidence. Graphics Press, LLC: Chesire Connecticut.

Zelle, John. 2004. Python Programming: an Introduction to Computer Science.  Frankln, Beedle, & Associates, Wilsonville, Oregon.

Image copyright Kenneth Edwards
(from the 2004 Visualization Challenge)

Important Dates

January 22: First lecture
March 6: Exam 1
May 1: Last lecture/Exam 2

Assignments and Visualizations

Extra Credit 2: Complete Chapter 5, Exercise 3a by last day of written work.

Current Assignment

Past Assignments

Visualizations and other Web Explorations

  1. Biografx Scientific and Medical Images
  2. Apophysis: Fractal Generator
  3. 2007 Visualization Challege
  4. The National Atlas
  5. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  6. Alogirthmic Botany
  7. A Beautiful WWW
  8. New York Times Visualizations (Link 1 Link 2)
  9. Information Aesthics



All graded work will be graded on a point scale, with the total worth of the assignment proportional to its complexity and difficulty. At the end of the semester, final grades will be calculated as a weighted average of all grades according to the following weights:

Exam 1: 20%
Exam 2: 20%
Labs Exercises: 30%
Project: 20%
Journal: 10%
Total: 100%


The file

HTML documentation of

A database of color names

The zlib1.dll file

The file


Created on January 18, 2008.