Manipulable Semantic Components in Data Visualization

Project Website


Atlas: Grammar-based Procedural Generation of Data Visualizations, VIS 2021 (Short Paper)
Zhicheng Liu, Chen Chen, Francisco Morales, Yishan Zhao

Mystique: Deconstructing SVG Charts for Layout Reuse, VIS 2023
Chen Chen, Bongshin Lee, Yunhai Wang, Yunjeong Chang, Zhicheng Liu


Manipulable Semantic Components (MSC) is a data visualization grammar designed to support the generation, transformation, and analysis of expressive charts from a graphics-centric perspective. MSC provides high-level abstractions for both the structure of a chart and the procedure to construct and modify the chart structure:

- The structure is described as semantic components such as mark, glyph, collection, layout, and encoding

- The procedure is expressed in terms of a series of operations that manipulate the semantic components, e.g., repeat, divide, densify, classify, and repopulate

MSC serves as the foundation for various interactive applications in data visualization:

- Data Illustrateur: an authoring tool for creating expressive data visualizations without programming

- Mystique: deconstructing SVG charts for reusing complex chart layouts on user’s own dataset