After the successes of last year’s visualization challenge, Scholars@Duke ( lays down the gauntlet yet again with another challenge. As before, Scholars@Duke is making data available, and this year so is The Graduate School.

The overall theme this year is to represent the “interdisciplinarity” of Duke’s education and research activities.

A little about the data. The dataset contains information about published items and authors. The data encompasses bibliographical information and abstracts, publication venue (including journals and conferences), and a co-authorship network, faculty appointments and memberships. New data this year comes from The Graduate School and lists faculty members of PhD dissertation committees for students completing PhDs in the past five years. Students’ identifiers have been removed.

Complete data files are available to the Duke community on Duke’s Box (NetID authentication required). In the Box folder, there are two sub-folders, one labelled “ORIGIN-SCHOLARSATDUKE” (data from Scholars@Duke) and the other labelled “ORIGIN-GRADUATE_SCHOOL” (data from The Graduate School). You may use other datasets in conjunction with the data that is provided, in order to enrich your visualizations, as long as the data are not encumbered by proprietary restrictions or are otherwise sensitive. If you use another publicly available dataset, you must provide a reference to or a copy of that data in your submission. Code used in your project should accompany your submission, and please indicate as completely as possible the software and the methods you used to execute your visualization project.

Visualization Consulting. Duke University Libraries Data and Visualization Services offers consulting services for data analysis and visualization. Contestants seeking a consultation should contact

How to take part

Download the data. Do your analysis and visualization. Submit a visualization by email by 11:59 pm on January 15, 2018 (complete submission instructions are here). Register to attend the Duke Research Computing Symposium on January 22, 2018, when the poster session will take place. Get your visualization ready to post on January 22.

Prizes: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $250, and Third Prize – $100. Entries to the special challenge will be part of the Duke Research Computing Symposium poster session to be held at the Penn Pavilion at the symposium on January 22, 2018. 

Need computing help? Teams intending to submit visualizations for the challenge can obtain RAPID virtual machines on request. Teams will be allotted 4 CPU cores, 40 GB of RAM, and 100 GB of storage for virtual machines created in Research Toolkits ( Virtual machines and storage volumes will be deactivated at the close of the challenge. A request for access to Research Toolkits and the special challenge allocation can be emailed to All regular rank faculty have access to Research Toolkits by default, and faculty wishing to take part can request additional CPU cores, RAM, and storage for the duration of the challenge.