VAST Challenge 2018 MC3


Mini-Challenge 3 Overview

Mitch Vogel left his work at Mistford College but has not forgotten the Rose-Crested Blue Pipit. Soon after arriving in the small town of Sulev in Northern Europe, Mitch started to see the telltale signs of Methylosmolene damage at the nearby Panteleimon Aviary Sanctuary. Mitch hears from local bird watchers that populations of the Greater Eurasian Red-Throated Pipit have been affected.

Since arriving in Sulev, Mitch also noticed that the local university’s office furniture was built in a nearby EuroKasios factory. Sure enough, EuroKasios is a subsidiary of Kasios International, Inc. – a huge multinational conglomerate that is also the parent company of Kasios Office Furniture back in Mitch’s hometown of Mistford. Mitch is immediately suspicious that EuroKasios is contaminating the aviary Sanctuary and endangering the Greater Eurasian Red-Throated Pipit. Worse yet, Mitch wonders if Kasios International may be contaminating pipit habitats around the world.

Mitch spends weeks reviewing press coverage of Kasios International and public statements made by the company’s CEO. Many of the articles tout the company’s environmentally friendly practices and even talk about recent scientific research that proves the safety of AGOC-3A, an environmentally friendly replacement for Methylosmolene. Mitch is skeptical that the company has halted production and use of Methylosmolene so he contacts the company and asks to meet with representatives from their environmental compliance division.

To his disappointment Mitch is not granted a meeting. Then Mitch receives an anonymous letter from someone who’s willing to help. A fellow pipit lover who works at Kasios International has gathered up a variety of company data and identified a suspicious group within the company. Attached to the letter Mitch receives is a USB drive with phone, email, meeting, and procurement records for Kasios International over the past 2 1/2 years. Mitch wonders if the fate of the Eurasian Pipit lies somewhere in that data. Mitch intends to put this data together to see if the problems with Kasios are much larger than he initially suspected.

Mini-Challenge 3: Your Challenge

Your task, as supported by visual analytics that you apply, is to help Mitch determine the organizational structure of the group within Kasios that was referenced by the insider providing Mitch the data. How is it internally connected and is anyone else involved? Use visual analytics to analyze the available data and develop responses to the questions below. Novel visualizations and analysis approaches are especially interesting for this mini-challenge.


  1. Using the four large Kasios International data sets, combine the different sources to create a single picture of the company. Characterize changes in the company over time. According to the company’s communications and purchase habits, is the company growing? Limit your responses to 5 images and 500 words.
  2. Combine the four data sources for group that the insider has identified as being suspicious and locate the group in the larger dataset. Determine if anyone else appears to be closely associated with this group. Highlight which employees are making suspicious purchases, according to the insider’s data. Limit your responses to 8 images and 500 words.
  3. Using the combined group of suspected bad actors you created in question 2, show the interactions within the group over time. Limit your responses to 10 images and 1000 words
    1. Characterize the group’s organizational structure and show a full picture of communications within the group.
    2. Does the group composition change during the course of their activities?
    3. How do the group’s interactions change over time?
  4. The insider has provided a list of purchases that might indicate illicit activity elsewhere in the company. Using the structure of the first group noted by the insider as a model can you find any other instances of suspicious activities in the company? Are there other groups that have structure and activity similar to this one? Who are they? Each of the suspicious purchases could be a starting point for your search. Provide examples of up to two other groups you find that appear suspicious and compare their structure with the structure of the first group. The structures should be presented as temporal not just structural (i.e., the sequence of events—A is followed by B one or two days later—will be important). Limit your responses to 10 images and 1200 words

  5. Download the Submission Form and the Data

    Click on the link below to see the Submission Instructions. Enter your email in the box below to download the data for this mini-challenge. This email will be used if the conference organizers need to contact you regarding any corrections to the mini-challenge.

    VAST Challenge 2018 Submission Instructions

    VAST Challenge 2018 MC3: Download File
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Page last modified on Tuesday, May 01, 2018