Authors: Alyssa A. Goodman
Date: 21 May 2012
Abstract: Astronomical researchers often think of analysis and visualization as separate tasks. In the case of high-dimensional data sets, though, interactive exploratory data visualization can give far more insight than an approach where data processing and statistical analysis are followed, rather than accompanied, by visualization. This paper attempts to charts a course toward "linked view" systems, where multiple views of high-dimensional data sets update live as a researcher selects, highlights, or otherwise manipulates, one of several open views. For example, imagine a researcher looking at a 3D volume visualization of simulated or observed data, and simultaneously viewing statistical displays of the data set's properties (such as an x-y plot of temperature vs. velocity, or a histogram of vorticities). Then, imagine that when the researcher selects an interesting group of points in any one of these displays, that the same points become a highlighted subset in all other open displays. Selections can be graphical or algorithmic, and they can be combined, and saved. For tabular (ASCII) data, this kind of analysis has long been possible, even though it has been under-used in Astronomy. The bigger issue for Astronomy and several other "high-dimensional" fields is the need systems that allow full integration of images and data cubes within a linked-view environment. The paper concludes its history and analysis of the present situation with suggestions that look toward cooperatively-developed open-source modular software as a way to create an evolving, flexible, high-dimensional, linked-view visualization environment useful in astrophysical research.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis