Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert Curve
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ashLeonard Cohenburn somethingmore quotes

information graphics: beautiful

In Silico Flurries: Computing a world of snow. Scientific American. 23 December 2017

design + visualization

VIZBI 2012

Visualization Principles Tutorial

This tutorial took place on Monday Mar 5th 2012 at VIZBI 2012 in Heidelberg Germany.


Jessie Kennedy · We will present fundamental principles of graphic design and visual communication that will help you create more effective interactive and print visualizations. You will learn how the purposeful use of salience, color, consistency and layout can help communicate large data sets and complex ideas with greater immediacy and clarity.

Cydney Nielsen · We will illustrate how these principles were implemented in ABySS-Explorer to visualize genome assemblies, an example to show you ways to apply design ideas to your own project.

Martin Krzywinski · At the end of the tutorial, you will apply what you have learned in an interactive group session in which you will design a figure illustrating a biological process.


Download agenda + participant list

9:30 – 10:15 45 min Jessie Kennedy
10:15 – 10:25 10 min break
10:25 – 11:10 45 min Cydney Nielsen
Design Process
11:10 – 11:20 10 min form teams + select figure to critique
11:20 – 11:30 10 min break
11:30 – 12:00 30 min Martin Krzywinski
Practical — Breakout session
download papers
12:00 – 13:00 60 min team presentations
suggested solutions

It is not necessary to read the paper from which your figure was selected. I have included the papers only if you are interested in learning about the figure's context.

Visualization and Design Resources

Effect of resolution on sequence visualization

Principles of effective color selection

Designing effective visualizations in the biological sciences (PSA Genomics Workshop, Seattle, 12 July 2011)

Circos and Hive Plots: Challenging visualization paradigms in genomics and network analysis (PSA Genomics Workshop, Seattle, 12 July 2011)

Designing effective visualizations in the biological sciences (Genome Sciences Center bioinformatics seminar, 26 August 2011)

Drawing Data: Creaing information-rich, informative and appealing figures for publication and presentation (BCCA workshop, 8 Jun 2011)

Behind a great figure is a design principle (BCB Spring Seminar, Iowa State, 27 Feb 2012)

Visualizing Quantitative Information (Genome Sciences Center bioinformatics seminar)

Blast from the past

Linux and Genomics: Two Revolutions (USENIX 2004)

Visualization Principles VIZBI Book Chapter

Look for my chapter on visualization principles in the upcoming Visualizing Biological Data — a Practical Guide. This book is being written by VIZBI 2011 participants and edited by Sean O'Donoghue and Jim Procter.


news + thoughts

Find and snap to colors in an image

Sat 29-12-2018

One of my color tools, the colorsnap application snaps colors in an image to a set of reference colors and reports their proportion.

Below is Times Square rendered using the colors of the MTA subway lines.

Colors used by the New York MTA subway lines.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Times Square in New York City.
Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Times Square in New York City rendered using colors of the MTA subway lines.
Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Granger rainbow snapped to subway lines colors from four cities. (zoom)

Take your medicine ... now

Wed 19-12-2018

Drugs could be more effective if taken when the genetic proteins they target are most active.

Design tip: rediscover CMYK primaries.

More of my American Scientific Graphic Science designs

Ruben et al. A database of tissue-specific rhythmically expressed human genes has potential applications in circadian medicine Science Translational Medicine 10 Issue 458, eaat8806.

Predicting with confidence and tolerance

Wed 07-11-2018
I abhor averages. I like the individual case. —J.D. Brandeis.

We focus on the important distinction between confidence intervals, typically used to express uncertainty of a sampling statistic such as the mean and, prediction and tolerance intervals, used to make statements about the next value to be drawn from the population.

Confidence intervals provide coverage of a single point—the population mean—with the assurance that the probability of non-coverage is some acceptable value (e.g. 0.05). On the other hand, prediction and tolerance intervals both give information about typical values from the population and the percentage of the population expected to be in the interval. For example, a tolerance interval can be configured to tell us what fraction of sampled values (e.g. 95%) will fall into an interval some fraction of the time (e.g. 95%).

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Predicting with confidence and tolerance. (read)

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2018) Points of significance: Predicting with confidence and tolerance Nature Methods 15:843–844.

Background reading

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2013) Points of significance: Importance of being uncertain. Nature Methods 10:809–810.

4-day Circos course

Wed 31-10-2018

A 4-day introductory course on genome data parsing and visualization using Circos. Prepared for the Bioinformatics and Genome Analysis course in Institut Pasteur Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Composite of the kinds of images you will learn to make in this course.