Kwan-Liu Ma
Alma materUniversity of Utah
Known forBinary Swap, Explorable Images, In Situ Visualization, Storyline Visualization, Graph Visualizaton, Big Data Visualization
AwardsNSF PECASE Award, ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, IEEE VGTC Visualization Technical Achievement Award, IEEE Visualization Academy
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Science, Computer Graphics, Visualization, Human Computer Interaction
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Davis
Thesis Interactive Volume Visualization  (1993)
Doctoral advisorKris Sikorski

Kwan-Liu Ma is an American computer scientist. He was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan and came to the United States pursuing advanced study in 1983. He is a distinguished professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis. His research interests include visualization, computer graphics, human computer interaction, and high-performance computing.


Ma received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees all in computer science from the University of Utah in 1986, 1988, and 1993, respectively. During 1993-1999, Ma was a staff scientist at the Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (ICASE), NASA Langley Research Center, where he conducted research in scientific visualization and high-performance computing. Ma joined UC Davis faculty in July 1999 and funded the Visualization and Interface Design Innovation (VIDI) research group and UC Davis Center of Excellence for Visualization.

Ma is a leading researcher in Big Data visualization. He organized the NSF/DOE Workshop on Large Scientific and Engineering Data Visualization (with C. Johnson) in 1999 as well as the Panel on Visualizing Large Datasets: Challenges and Opportunities at ACM SIGGRAPH 1999. He participated in the NSF LSSDSV, ITR, and BigData programs, and led the DOE SciDAC Institute for Ultrascale Visualization, a five-year, multi-institution project. He and his students has convincingly demonstrated several advanced concepts for data visualization, such as in situ visualization (1995, 2006), visualization provenance (1999), hardware accelerated volume visualization (2001), machine learning assisted volume visualization (2004), explorable images (2010), machine learning assisted graph visualization (2017), etc. Ma has published over 400 articles and given over 300 invited talks.

Ma has been actively serving the research community by playing leading roles in several professional activities including VizSec, Ultravis, EGPGV, IEEE VIS, IEEE PacificVis, and IEEE LDAV. He has served as a papers co-chair for SciVis, InfoVis, EuroVis, PacificVis, and Graph Drawing. Professor Ma was associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (2007-2011), IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications (2007-2019), and the Journal of Computational Science and Discovery (2009-2014). He presently serves on the editorial boards of the ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, the Journal of Visual Informatics, and the Journal Computational Visual Media.

Ma is a member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS).[1]

Supernova Visualization
Supernova visualization made by Eric Lum (2003) for scientific storytelling with data provided by the Terascale Supernova Initiative.
Storyline Visualization
Movie storytelling with storyline visualization, designed by Yuzuru Takahashi (2012).
Interactive Visualization Exhibit
An interactive visualization exhibit, the Plankton Table (2012), on display at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Selected publications


  1. ^ Kwan-Liu Ma Joins the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists.
  2. ^ President Clinton Honored Top Junior Faculty
  3. ^ Kwan-Liu Ma received Visualization Technical Achievement Award.
  4. ^ Kwan-Liu Ma was inducted into the Visualization Academy.
  5. ^ "Kwan-Liu Ma". Retrieved 2024-01-26.