We reviewed some of my questions and went over the design doc template to make some changes and additions to what I'd already started to piece together.
We decided that I need to do two things:
1) Read Tamara Munzner's paper on the Tree Juxtaposer to see how she visualizes trees and what I can learn from that. This will also get me started in the "Past Work" section of my design doc. I can choose to trace back from her references if I see things that I feel might be of additional use.
2) Spend a long while studying the already-written PhyloWidget code from Yale. I'll need to decide whether to start from scratch using that as a guide or whether to use it as a basis on which to build my code. Deciding how to utilize the PhyloWidget will have significant influence on the structure of my project, right down to the languages and libraries I'll be using to write the code.
In addition to that, I feel I'll need to do at least some background reading about Data Integration, since I'll need to do some amount of that to ensure that we're using fresh scientific data all the time. I'll also want to read up on algorithms and data structures that would be most useful for storing and manipulating data about trees.
Val is going to get in touch with his colleague at Yale who is excited about this project and seems willing to lend a hand, especially with the code from the PhyloWidget project that was created by one of his students.
At this point it's still quite too soon to detail things like algorithms of choice or even to attempt a Gantt chart. We're still very much in the "figuring things out" stage.