About the VAST Challenge

The Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Challenge is an annual contest with the goal of advancing the field of visual analytics through competition. The VAST Challenge is designed to help researchers understand how their software would be used in a novel analytic task and determine if their data transformations, visualizations, and interactions would be beneficial for particular analytic tasks. VAST Challenge problems provide researchers with realistic tasks and data sets for evaluating their software, as well as an opportunity to advance the field by solving more complex problems.

Researchers and software providers have repeatedly used the data sets from throughout the life of the VAST Challenge as benchmarks to demonstrate and test the capabilities of their systems. The ground truth embedded in the data sets has helped researchers evaluate and strengthen the utility of their visualizations.

Challenge Archive


As a VAST Challenge sponsor, you establish a topic for an upcoming Challenge. The VAST Challenge provides a cost-effective way to enlist researchers and companies around the world to look at problems of interest to your organization and come up with new ways to address the difficult data analysis issues your organization faces.

For example, the VAST Challenge 2015 datasets were downloaded by over 500 different people in their first three months of availability. VAST Challenge datasets have been downloaded by participants in over 35 countries, with over 70 submissions received.

As a sponsor of the VAST Challenge, you have an opportunity to review all of the Challenge submittals and optionally to plan an activity at the VAST Conference to interact directly with the participating researchers.

Datasets created for the annual VAST Challenge remain available to the community following the annual conference, so your problems and data can continue to motivate and inspire researchers long after the annual Challenge is complete.

Costs of sponsoring a VAST Challenge problem are dependent upon the sponsor’s specific interests and needs.

For more information about sponsorships, please contact Mark Whiting - mark.whiting (at) pnnl.gov.

Highlighted Publications

Cook, K., Grinstein, G., & Whiting, M. (2014). The VAST Challenge: history, scope, and outcomes: An introduction to the Special Issue. Information Visualization, 13(4), 301-312.

Scholtz, J., Whiting, M. A., Plaisant, C., & Grinstein, G. (2012, October). A reflection on seven years of the VAST challenge. In Proceedings of the 2012 BELIV Workshop: Beyond Time and Errors-Novel Evaluation Methods for Visualization (p. 13). ACM.

Page last modified on Tuesday, January 31, 2017