VisMaster is a European Coordination Action Project focused on the research discipline of Visual Analytics: One of the most important challenges of the emerging Information Age is to effectively utilise the immense wealth of information and data acquired, computed and stored by modern information systems. On the one hand, the appropriate use of available information volumes offers large potential to realize technological progress and business success.
According to , Visual Analytics is the science of analytical reasoning supported by interactive visual interfaces. Today, data is produced at an incredible rate and the ability to collect and store the data is increasing at a faster rate than the ability to analyze it. Over the last decades, a large number of automatic data analysis methods have been developed. However, the complex nature of many problems makes it indispensable to include human intelligence at an early stage in the data analysis process. Visual Analytics methods allow decision makers to combine their human ?exibility, creativity, and background knowledge with the enormous storage and processing capacities of today’s computers to gain insight into complex problems. Using advanced visual interfaces, humans may directly interact with the data analysis capabilities of today’s computer, allowing them to make well-informed decisions in complex situations.
Visual Analytics can be seen as an integral approach combining visualization, human factors, and data analysis. The figure illustrates the research areas related to Visual Analytics. Besides visualization and data analysis, especially human factors, including the areas of cognition and perception, play an important role in the communication between the human and the computer, as well as in the decision-making process. With respect to visualization, Visual Analytics relates to the areas of Information Visualization and Computer Graphics, and with respect to data analysis, it pro?ts from methodologies developed in the ?elds of information retrieval, data management & knowledge representation as well as data mining.
 Thomas, J., Cook, K.: Illuminating the Path: Research and Development Agenda for Visual Analytics. IEEE-Press (2005)