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MIT Technology Review

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  • Martin Wattenberg

    Age:
    32

    By the time he completed his first high-school calculus class, Martin Wattenberg had already coauthored a software package for teaching calculus using a more visual method. Since then he has employed his rare combination of mathematical and artistic talent (New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art has exhibited his computer-based art) to introduce new ways of visualizing data. At SmartMoney.com, his popular, Java-based , interactive “Map of the Market” offers investors color-coded graphical representations of market capitalization and stock activity for more than 500 companies. Rather than sifting through reams of data investors can monitor the map for real-time color changes indicating whether a stock is up or down. His current research for the Collaborative User Experience group at IBM focuses on creating a visual paradigm for electronic collaboration. One tool under development will present users with maps of their in-boxes that highlight the names of people they own mail to and can graphically trace the history of each message. Wattenberg’s innovations at IBM are still in the lab (he only joined the company last year), but his skills should help people better organize and make sense of their increasingly electronic existence.