Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Ying Zhu - Chair

Second Advisor

Raj Sunderraman

Third Advisor

Anu Bourgeois


Computer security visualization has gained much attention in the research community in the past few years. However, the advancement in security visualization research has been hampered by the lack of standardization in visualization design, centralized datasets, and evaluation methods. We propose a new heuristic model for evaluating the complexity of computer security visualizations. This complexity evaluation method is designed to evaluate the efficiency of performing visual search in security visualizations in terms of measuring critical memory capacity load needed to perform such tasks. Our method is based on research in cognitive psychology along with characteristics found in a majority of the security visualizations. The main goal for developing this complexity evaluation method is to guide computer security visualization design and compare different visualization designs. Finally, we compare several well known computer security visualization systems. The proposed method has the potential to be extended to other areas of information visualization.