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Melanie Tory

Director of Data Visualization Research

Melanie Tory is the director of data visualization research at the Roux Institute. Her team designs, builds, and deploys interactive software tools (including data visualization, virtual and augmented reality, mobile applications, and other interfaces) that empower people to better understand their data and use it to solve business challenges and societal problems. She collaborates on projects with institute industry partners and with colleagues in areas like engineering and computational medicine.

Tory is also a professor of the practice at Northeastern, with appointments in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and the College of Arts, Media and Design.

Real-world impact

Tory’s research focuses on helping people and businesses to do more with data through the design and evaluation of novel visualization techniques and human-data interactions. This is exactly the type of expertise the Roux Institute brings to the Portland area, state of Maine, and the Northeast.

Prior to joining Northeastern and the Roux Institute, she worked at Tableau Software, an interactive data visualization software company that was acquired by Salesforce for over $15 billion. Her work at Tableau focused on enabling natural language interaction through visualizations, as well as on how people use analytics and business intelligence tools within organizations. Tory also served for nine years as a computer science faculty member at the University of Victoria.

She earned her PhD in computer science from Simon Fraser University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia. She is the associate editor of several visualization journals and serves on the steering committee of the IEEE VIS Conference.

Tory lives in Portland’s East End. An outdoors enthusiast, she explores Maine’s many parks, trails, and islands.

Research Overview

  • Data visualization
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Human-AI interaction

Selected Publications

  • Melanie Tory, Lyn Bartram, Brittany Fiore-Gartland, and Anamaria Crisan, “Finding Their Data Voice: Practices and Challenges of Dashboard Users,” IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 2022.
  • Lyn Bartram, Michael Correll, and Melanie Tory, “Untidy Data: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Tables,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proc. IEEE VIS), 2021.
  • Evanthia Dimara, Harry Zhang, Melanie Tory, and Steven Franconeri, “The Unmet Data Visualization Needs of Decision Makers within Organizations,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2021.
  • Anamaria Crisan, Brittany Fiore-Gartland, and Melanie Tory, “Passing the Data Baton : A Retrospective Analysis on Data Science Work and Workers,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2020.
  • Bongshin Lee, Kate Isaacs, Danielle Szafir, Elizabeth Marai, Catagay Turkay, Melanie Tory, Sheelagh Carpendale, and Alex Endert, “Broadening Intellectual Diversity in Visualization Research Papers,” IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications, 2019.