Hannah Aizenman Awarded $52K Grant for Data Viz Library

Hannah Aizenman (Credit: GC Digital Fellows)

Hannah Aizenman, a Graduate Center Ph.D. candidate in computer science, has been awarded a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for the further development of Matplotlib, the fundamental data visualization library in the popular programming language Python. 

Aizenman, whose specialty is visualization, shares the $52,000 grant with her adviser, Professor Michael Grossberg (GC/CCNY, Computer Science), and Thomas Caswell of Brookhaven National Laboratory, who is the lead developer of Matplotlib.  

Matplotlib is employed across a wide spectrum of fields, including bio-medical imaging, microscopy, and genomics. Aizenman is working with Grossberg and Casawell on the redesign to “make it easier for life sciences and other domain specific libraries to build better, more robust visualization tools on top of Matplotlib.” Aizenman noted that it is widely used, from middle school students learning robotics to graduate students in musicology to teams working on Nobel prize-winning physics work.

Matplotlib has been actively developed and maintained by a largely volunteer community. Aizenman manages the Matplotlib account on Twitter and she said that, “good plots get your research in front of a lot of folks because it is shared for the pretty as much as for the substance.”

Aizenman’s interest in visualization began when she worked in Grossberg’s lab at City College  when she was an undergraduate. Her work on the architecture of Matplotlib is the basis of her doctoral thesis. She says she is not sure what her next step will be after completing her doctorate, but is considering a national or corporate lab or perhaps a postdoc focused on software research engineering.

Submitted on: MAR 27, 2020

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