ChronoZoom: Bridging the Gap Between the Humanities and Sciences


July 17, 2012


Sergey Berezin and Walter Alvarez


University of California, Berkeley, Moscow State University


Rane Johnson from Microsoft Research chairs this session at Faculty Summit 2012.

Imagine a world where scientists, researchers, students, and teachers collaborate to share historical information through images, videos, documents, charts, interactive tours, and more. Imagine a world where leading academics publish their findings to the world in a manner that can easily be accessed and compared.

ChronoZoom is an open-source community project dedicated to visualizing the history of everything and supporting the emerging field of Big History. Big History is the attempt to understand, in a unified, interdisciplinary way, the history of the cosmos, Earth, life, and humanity. ChronoZoom seeks to bridge the gap between the humanities and sciences by enabling all kinds of information to be visually presented and organized.

In this session, learn about the challenges of teaching a course on Big History, and what it is like to work on a multidisciplinary project with humanistic, scientific, and computer science researchers. Understand what ChronoZoom hopes to accomplish with the research community and how computer scientists can better work with scientists and humanists. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how we brought ChronoZoom to life through HTML5 and Windows Azure.

We address the various visualization challenges, data management issues, and user interface questions solved in this project and the complex algorithms created. We also discuss what we hope to accomplish in the next phases of ChronoZoom development and how other computer science researchers can work with the team.