The Gamma Programmatic Data Exploration for Non-programmers

Tomas Petricek

In Proceedings of VL/HCC 2022

Data exploration tools based on code can access any data source, result in reproducible scripts and encourage users to verify, reuse and modify existing code. Unfortunately, they are hard to use and require expert coding skills. Can we make data exploration tools based on code accessible to non-experts?

We present The Gamma, a novel text-based data exploration environment that answers the question in the affirmative. The Gamma takes the idea of code completion to the limit. Users create transparent and reproducible scripts without writing code, by repeatedly choosing from offered code completions.

The Gamma is motivated by the needs of data journalists and shows that we may not need to shy away from code for building accessible, reproducible and transparent tools that allow a broad public to benefit from the rise of open data.

Draft and more information


If you want to cite the paper, you can use the following BibTeX information.

  author    = {Petricek, Tomas},
  title     = {The Gamma: Programmatic Data Exploration for Non-programmers},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of VL/HCC},
  series    = {IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing},
  location  = {Rome, Italy},
  year      = {2022}

If you have any comments, suggestions or related ideas, I'll be happy to hear from you! Send me an email at or get in touch via Twitter at @tomaspetricek.

Published: Tuesday, 13 September 2022, 12:00 AM
Author: Tomas Petricek
Typos: Send me a pull request!