Interface 2003

Query, Analysis, and Visualization of Hierarchically Structured Data
Christopher Stolte, (Stanford University),


In the last several years, large OLAP databases have become common in a variety of applications such as corporate data warehouses and scientific computing. To support interactive analysis, many of these databases are augmented with hierarchical structures that provide meaningful levels of abstraction that can be leveraged by both the computer and analyst. This hierarchical structure generates many challenges and opportunities in the design of systems for the query, analysis, and visualization of these databases. In this talk, I'll present an interactive visual exploration tool that facilitates exploratory analysis of data warehouses with rich hierarchical structure, such as might be stored in data cubes. We based this tool on Polaris, a system for rapidly constructing table-based graphical displays of multidimensional databases. Polaris builds visualizations using an algebraic formalism that is derived from the interface and interpreted as a set of queries to a database. We have extended the user interface, algebraic formalism, and generation of data queries in Polaris to expose and take advantage of hierarchical structure. In the resulting system, analysts can navigate through the hierarchical projections of a database, rapidly and incrementally generating visualizations for each projection.

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