About Me

I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science of ETH Zurich where I lead the Interactive Visualization and Intelligence Augmentation Lab (IVIA).

Prior to that, I was a research fellow at the AI Center of ETH Zurich (Switzerland). Before that, I was a research associate and doctoral student in the group for Data Analysis and Visualization at the University of Konstanz (Germany) and in the Visualization for Information Analysis lab at the OntarioTech University (Canada).

I work at the intersection of data analysis, visualization, computational linguistics, and explainable artificial intelligence. My research interest is in combining data mining and machine learning techniques with visual analytics, specifically for text data.



Mennatallah El-Assady


Data Analysis and Visualization

ETH AI Center (CH)



Developing Explainable and Interactive Machine Learning. https://explainer.ai/


Integrating Computational Linguistics and Visual Analytics. https://lingvis.io/


Analyzing Successful Rhetoric and Argumentation in Debates. http://visargue.uni.kn/

Visual Musicology

Exploring the Intersection of Musicology and Visual Analytics. https://visual-musicology.com/


Investigating Deliberation in Political Debates. https://valida.lingvis.io/


& Co-Organized Events


COMMA Workshop on Argument Visualization. https://argvis-workshop.lingvis.io/


IEEE VIS Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities. http://vis4dh.org/


Workshop on Visualization as Added Value in the Development, Use, and Evaluation of Language Resources. http://tiny.cc/vislr


IEEE VIS Workshop on Visualization for AI Explainability. http://visxai.io/

Recent Publications

A Heuristic Approach for Dual Expert/End-User Evaluation of Guidance in Visual Analytics

A Heuristic Approach for Dual Expert/End-User Evaluation of Guidance in Visual Analytics

Guidance can support users during the exploration and analysis of complex data. Previous research focused on characterizing the theoretical aspects of guidance in visual analytics and implementing guidance in different scenarios. However, the evaluation of guidance-enhanced visual analytics solutions remains an open research question. We tackle this question by introducing and validating a practical evaluation methodology for guidance in visual analytics. We identify eight quality criteria to be fulfilled and collect expert feedback on their validity. To facilitate actual evaluation studies, we derive two sets of heuristics. The first set targets heuristic evaluations conducted by expert evaluators. The second set facilitates end-user studies where participants actually use a guidance-enhanced system. By following such a dual approach, the different quality criteria of guidance can be examined from two different perspectives, enhancing the overall value of evaluation studies. To test the practical utility of our methodology, we employ it in two studies to gain insight into the quality of two guidance-enhanced visual analytics solutions, one being a work-in-progress research prototype, and the other being a publicly available visualization recommender system. Based on these two evaluations, we derive good practices for conducting evaluations of guidance in visual analytics and identify pitfalls to be avoided during such studies.

Visual Analytics of Co-Occurrences to Discover Subspaces in Structured Data

Visual Analytics of Co-Occurrences to Discover Subspaces in Structured Data

We present an approach that shows all relevant subspaces of categorical data condensed in a single picture. We model the categorical values of the attributes as co-occurrences with data partitions generated from structured data using pattern mining. We show that these co-occurrences are a-priori, allowing us to greatly reduce the search space, effectively generating the condensed picture where conventional approaches filter out several subspaces as these are deemed insignificant. The task of identifying interesting subspaces is common but difficult due to exponential search spaces and the curse of dimensionality. One application of such a task might be identifying a cohort of patients defined by attributes such as gender, age, and diabetes type that share a common patient history, which is modeled as event sequences. Filtering the data by these attributes is common but cumbersome and often does not allow a comparison of subspaces. We contribute a powerful multi-dimensional pattern exploration approach (MDPE-approach) agnostic to the structured data type that models multiple attributes and their characteristics as co-occurrences, allowing the user to identify and compare thousands of subspaces of interest in a single picture. In our MDPE-approach, we introduce two methods to dramatically reduce the search space, outputting only the boundaries of the search space in the form of two tables. We implement the MDPE-approach in an interactive visual interface (MDPE-vis) that provides a scalable, pixel-based visualization design allowing the identification, comparison, and sense-making of subspaces in structured data. Our case studies using a gold-standard dataset and external domain experts confirm our approach’s and implementation’s applicability. A third use case sheds light on the scalability of our approach and a user study with 15 participants underlines its usefulness and power.

Doom or Deliciousness: Challenges and Opportunities for Visualization in the Age of Generative Models

Doom or Deliciousness: Challenges and Opportunities for Visualization in the Age of Generative Models

Generative text-to-image models (as exemplified by DALL-E, MidJourney, and Stable Diffusion) have recently made enormous technological leaps, demonstrating impressive results in many graphical domains—from logo design to digital painting to photographic composition. However, the quality of these results has led to existential crises in some fields of art, leading to questions about the role of human agency in the production of meaning in a graphical context. Such issues are central to visualization, and while these generative models have yet to be widely applied in visualization, it seems only a matter of time until their integration is manifest. Seeking to circumvent similar ponderous dilemmas, we attempt to understand the roles that generative models might play across visualization. We do so by constructing a framework that characterizes what these technologies offer at various stages of the visualization workflow, augmented and analyzed through semi-structured interviews with 21 experts from related domains. Through this work, we map the space of opportunities and risks that might arise in this intersection, identifying doomsday prophecies and delicious low-hanging fruits that are ripe for research.

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