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Filtergraph: A Web-Based Service for Visualization of Large Datasets

Primary Investigators:
Keivan Stassun,
Dan Burger, 

Brief Description of Project:
Filtergraph ( is a web platform for visualizing a large variety of datasets. It has been in operation since early 2011 as a dashboard to facilitate the discovery of exoplanets, which are planets orbiting stars outside of our solar system. Today, Filtergraph is used by 1000+ people worldwide, including researchers with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was launched into space last year. We have also received interest from data professionals in a wide variety of fields, including geology, journalism, and civic planning. Filtergraph is a joint project of the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-intensive Astrophysics and the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation.

In 2014, Filtergraph received an I-corps grant from the National Science Foundation to explore commercial opportunities for our project beyond astronomy. We continue to work with the Vanderbilt Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to commercialize our platform, and in 2017 we signed an agreement with the NASA Exoplanet Archive to enhance their pre-generated plots with interactive visualizations powered by Filtergraph.

For your summer project, we would like you to think about redesigning the Filtergraph portal and optimizing its performance. Filtergraph is nearly a decade old, and there are many things that we would have done differently if we could start all over again. This is a difficult task, but we will walk you through it over the course of the summer.

Our previous students have gone on to work at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Capital One, Panera Bread corporate, and local startups. We also have a former student in a PhD program, and a former student training to be a Navy pilot.

Desired Qualifications: 
Required: CS 1101/1103 or equivalent

Prior to starting on the project you will need to learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python, full-stack web development, basic internet security and basic astronomy. The more of these you already know, the easier it will be to get started! 

Nature of Supervision:
This is a mostly self-guided project but you can reach out to either of us if you have questions.
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
2 weeks training, 6-7 weeks building your project, 1-2 weeks preparing your poster, paper, and final presentation.
Students who perform well may be asked to continue working on the project through the following school year. 

Number of Open Slots: 1
Contact Information:
Name: Dan Burger
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science