William A. Ferster

Assistant Research Professor; Director of Visualization for SHANTI


  • Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2007
  • B.F.A., George Washington University, 1979

Bill Ferster is an assistant research professor in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and Director of Visualization for the Sciences, Humanities & Arts Technology Initiative (SHANTI). He teaches undergraduate classes that use interactive visualization to explore topics in American history and graduate courses in learning tools design. He is the author of Interactive Visualization: Insight through Inquiry (2013), published by MIT, and Teaching Machines, to be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2014.

At SHANTI he directs VisualEyes and SHIVA projects. VisualEyes is web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia to weave images, maps, charts, video and data into highly interactive and compelling dynamic visualizations.  The SHANTI Interactive Visualization Application (SHIVA), which makes it easy to create interactive visualizations and uses the new HTML5 web standard.

He directs the PrimaryAccess Project which enables middle and high school students to create digital documentaries using primary source documents online, and recently won the American Library Association’s 25 best educational websites award. In previous lives,  Ferster founded StageTools, (www.stagetools.com) which is the leading developer of digital motion control tools with its MovingPicture product. MovingPicture is a tool for documentary and industrial filmmakers to pan and zoom on high-resolution images.  He founded Editing Machines, developer of the first digital nonlinear editing system and won an Emmy Award for pioneering a technology that has revolutionized the way all films and videos are edited and had founded West End, a pioneer in PC-based animation and presentation graphics tools.

Research Interests


Visualization, Technology in education. digital video.

Current Projects


Visualeyes -  www.viseyes.org
PrimaryAccess - www.viseyes.org/primaryaccess
SHIVA -  www.viseyes.org/shiva