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User Interactions in Virtual Data Explorer

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNAI,volume 13310)

Abstract

Cybersecurity practitioners face the challenge of monitoring complex and large datasets. These could be visualized as time-varying node-link graphs, but would still have complex topologies and very high rates of change in the attributes of their links (representing network activity). It is natural, then, that the needs of the cybersecurity domain have driven many innovations in 2D visualization and related computer-assisted decision making. Here, we discuss the lessons learned while implementing user interactions for Virtual Data Explorer (VDE), a novel system for immersive visualization (both in Mixed and Virtual Reality) of complex time-varying graphs. VDE can be used with any dataset to render its topological layout and overlay that with time-varying graph; VDE was inspired by the needs of cybersecurity professionals engaged in computer network defense (CND).

Immersive data visualization using VDE enables intuitive semantic zooming, where the semantic zoom levels are determined by the spatial position of the headset, the spatial position of handheld controllers, and user interactions (UIa) with those controllers. This spatially driven semantic zooming is quite different from most other network visualizations which have been attempted with time-varying graphs of the sort needed for CND, presenting a broad design space to be evaluated for overall user experience (UX) optimization. In this paper, we discuss these design choices, as informed by CND experts, with a particular focus on network topology abstraction with graph visualization, semantic zooming on increasing levels of network detail, and semantic zooming to show increasing levels of detail with textual labels.

Keywords

  • User interactions
  • Virtual reality
  • Mixed reality
  • Network visualization
  • Topology visualization
  • Data visualization
  • Cybersecurity

The material is based upon work supported by NASA under award number 80GSFC21M0002.

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Acknowledgement

The authors thank Alexander Kott, Jennifer A. Cowley, Lee C. Trossbach, Matthew C. Ryan, Jaan Priisalu, and Olaf Manuel Maennel for their ideas and guidance. This research was partly supported by the Army Research Laboratory under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-17-2-0083 and in conjunction with the CCDC Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center. The material is based upon work supported by NASA under award number 80GSFC21M0002.

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Kullman, K., Engel, D. (2022). User Interactions in Virtual Data Explorer. In: Schmorrow, D.D., Fidopiastis, C.M. (eds) Augmented Cognition. HCII 2022. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 13310. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05457-0_26

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05457-0_26

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