AI4VIS: Survey on Artificial Intelligence Approaches for Data Visualization

Picture of Aoyu Wu
Aoyu Wu
Picture of Yun Wang
Yun Wang
Picture of Xinhuan Shu
Xinhuan Shu
Picture of Weiwei Cui
Weiwei Cui
Picture of Haidong Zhang
Haidong Zhang
Picture of Dongmei Zhang
Dongmei Zhang
Picture of Huamin Qu
Huamin Qu
Published at TVCG 2021
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Visualizations themselves have become a data format. Akin to other data formats such as text and images, visualizations are increasingly created, stored, shared, and (re-)used with artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. In this survey, we probe the underlying vision of formalizing visualizations as an emerging data format and review the recent advance in applying AI techniques to visualization data (AI4VIS). We define visualization data as the digital representations of visualizations in computers and focus on data visualization (e.g., charts and infographics). We build our survey upon a corpus spanning ten different fields in computer science with an eye toward identifying important common interests. Our resulting taxonomy is organized around WHAT is visualization data and its representation, WHY and HOW to apply AI to visualization data. We highlight a set of common tasks that researchers apply to the visualization data and present a detailed discussion of AI approaches developed to accomplish those tasks. Drawing upon our literature review, we discuss several important research questions surrounding the management and exploitation of visualization data, as well as the role of AI in support of those processes. We make the list of surveyed papers and related material available online at